Giving back is more than donating time or money for Dr. Alicia Gwynn, a long-time donor at The San Diego Foundation and founder of the Tony & Alicia Gwynn Foundation.
It’s a way of life.
The local businesswoman and wife of the late Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn has been making an impact in the San Diego community for so long that it’s now part of her DNA.
“For as long as we were together, Tony and I always believed in helping others,” explained Alicia. “When Tony was playing baseball, we would learn about local children who were in need of help for one reason or another. We would receive calls about parents putting children out or kids who lacked basic resources like food and a roof over their head.”
That’s when the couple knew they needed to act, and act in a major way.
In addition to parenting their own two children, Alicia and Tony took in and raised more than 40 young people in their home.
When asked why, Alicia simply stated, “Not everyone is aware that young people in our communities grow up with drastically different opportunities and amenities. And this story is all too common in San Diego.”
Alicia and Tony supported the children in the best way they could – welcoming them into their family.
“We believed it was important to help children grow in a positive way,” described Alicia. “As legal guardians for these underserved youth, we could care for them and provide them with the opportunities that would help them become good citizens. Tony and I would encourage the kids to pursue their passions and make something out of their gifts, just as most parents would do.”
The couple always understood that good character sustains young people as they grow up to become adults and future leaders in their community.
And today, that belief still shines through Alicia’s continued philanthropy in the region.
“I will forever be involved with the development of our youth,” noted Alicia. “I’ve always believed that character education is one of the most important aspects of youth development. It’s the kickstarter for our children to become self-sustainable and contributing members of our community later in life.”
Just last August, Alicia hosted 30 children at her house for one week of character education and development. “We had kids on air mattresses and blankets everywhere we could,” she shared. “We taught them the importance of a strong character and what goes into that – maintaining a good attitude, displaying positive behavior, becoming a resilient individual. In that supportive environment, they are able to learn about and develop the essential skills that will last with them the rest of their lives.”
Throughout the region and across the country, there are countless lives that have been touched by Alicia. Thanks to the Gwynn family, San Diego as a whole is a more vibrant region full of strong community leaders.
Alicia’s passion for developing youth and playing a supportive role in the lives of so many San Diegans is a playbook we all can follow.
How do you make an impact in the lives of young people in San Diego? Share your efforts in the comments below!