Everyday Heroes
In honor of Women’s History Month, meet three everyday heroes working hard to improve their community.

Active Living Profiles

March is Women’s History Month, a month often focused on famous women and their contributions to society. However, each and every day, “ordinary heroes” are among us, working hard to make their communities better.

Adrienne photoAdrienne Valencia – Sharing the Music

“As Director of Education and Community Engagement for the San Diego Symphony, I create programs that introduce people to symphonic music, to the instruments of the orchestra and to the live concert experience. Most of the time that means school children but we also understand that many adults nowadays didn’t have a strong music program in their schools, and so we have programs that reach people of all ages. Our musicians also perform for people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to hear classical music – people in hospice care, senior living facilities, homeless shelters and juvenile detention centers. We believe that music has the power to transform lives, and my job is to make sure that as many people have an experience with us as possible.

“There’s nothing like an audience of children! They bring such a special energy and enthusiasm to the concert hall. For most of them, it’s their first time seeing a professional orchestra in person. Sometimes as they are filing out of the Jacobs Music Center to climb back on their buses, I’ll catch a moment with a couple of kids and ask if they liked the concert. When they say, ‘That was the best field trip ever!’ I know all of our hard work has been worth it.”


Audrey Pavia – Writing (and Riding) to Inform

“I have been a writer and editor for the past 30 years. Since 1997, I have authored 23 books, all on the subject of animals. Since I started as a freelance writer back in the 1980s, I have written thousands of articles for a variety of different publications.

“My greatest passion is horses. I have two Spanish Mustangs that I use for trail riding. My oldest horse, Milagro, is my competitive trail riding mount. I’m also an avid film buff and a creative writer. I’m working on my first novel.

“I’m currently serving as a volunteer on the board of directors for the North American Trail Ride Conference, Region 2. I love competitive trail riding because it is all about the partnership between a horse and rider. NATRC helps teach people how to take better care of their horses, and fosters the bond between horse and rider.

“I have also volunteered for several other organizations, including Taking the Reins, an organization that teaches horsemanship to at-risk teenage girls in Los Angeles; and as a volunteer dog and cat socializer for the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center in Riverside.”


Amy Hargrove – Rehoming Abandoned Dogs

Audrey photo

“I am currently retired, and I began volunteering with Pit Bull Rescue San Diego in 2010 after we fostered a puppy named Peach and went on to adopt her. That was the best thing that had happened to us in several years!

“I began my volunteer work as a dog walker, then started making medical appointments for foster dogs, coordinating the foster parents’ schedule to fit our veterinarian’s appointments.

“A few years later I was asked to become the adoptions director. I receive approved applications via email, send congratulatory email to the applicants, assign an adoption coordinator to work with the applicants and foster parents, and to track the progress of the adoption process.

“I love being involved with this organization this way! Helping the adoptable dogs in our rescue find their forever homes gives me a sense of purpose, and I love meeting new people and helping to create family bonds for these ‘orphan’ dogs.”


National Women’s History Project – NWHP.org

TED – Women – A collection of TED Talks on the topic of women – TED.com