Award Winners are Honored at the Wingspan Dinner

On Saturday September 29th, Wingspan and its many supporters celebrated the return of the annual dinner.  Taking place at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, the annual dinner is where Wingspan’s award winners are celebrated.

Each year, three incredibly deserving individuals are awarded the Wingspan Godat, Community Ally, and Steve Hall awards.  This year in 2012 was no exception with Joyce Bolinger receiving the Godat award, Sharon Schubitzke receiving the Community Ally award, and Noel de la Tierra receiving the Steve Hall award.


Joyce Bolinger, 2012 Godat Award Recipient

The Godat Award was inaugurated in 1998 to recognize extraordinary long-term contributions by an individual to Southern Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Ken Godat, after whom this award was named, was the first recipient.

Joyce Bolinger, 2012 Godat Award Recipient

Joyce Bolinger is a quiet, steadfast person who has consistently devoted much of her time and energy to the LGBT community. She has promoted LGBT well-being in Tucson, as well as across the nation, and is driven by the motive to give back and make our community a better place. Joyce uses her skills and passions for the arts, fundraising, community outreach, and LGBT history to impact others.

After retiring as Deputy Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and moving to Tucson, Joyce played an active role in the University of Arizona’s Lesbian Looks film series, organized benefit screenings, and advocated for LGBT rights through cultural arts and community forums. She specifically contributed to Wingspan by serving on the Board of Directors, supporting programs, honoring volunteers, and spearheading distribution of the agency’s newsletter. Joyce’s talents center on seeking and documenting the diverse voices in our community. She uses the spoken and written word to bring attention to LGBT causes and people. Her generosity, dedication, and humility inspire participation as she makes a positive difference.


Sharon Schubitzke, 2012 Community Ally Award Recipient

In 2001, an award was created to honor a straight ally who has made significant contributions to advance the freedom, equality, safety, and well-being of LGBT people in Southern Arizona. This award was named The Community Ally Award.

Sharon Schubitzke, 2012 Community Ally Award Recipient

For the past decade, Sharon Schubitzke has been a strong presence in the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, particularly supporting the transgender community. She is an ally in various direct service and visibility initiatives, including hot meals for homeless youth, Senior Pride, and Transgender Awareness.

Sharon uses her training as a social worker to educate others about the nuances of LGBT identities in the aging population, professional environment, and the community at large. Her advocacy is hands-on, evident in the creation of forums for communication around transgender and elder issues. Sharon is actively dedicated to community-building through support group facilitation, project planning, and participation in public events.


Noel de la Tierra, 2012 Steve Hall Award Winner

The Steve Hall Award is named after a former volunteer and Board President who played a key role in Wingspan’s early growth, and is given to an individual who makes outstanding volunteer contributions to further Wingspan’s mission of promoting the freedom, equality, safety, and well-being of LGBT people.

Noel de la Tierra, 2012 Steve Hall Award Recipient

Noel de la Tierra exemplifies this commitment to the community of LGBT and allied youth at Wingspan. Her trustworthiness and facilitation skills contribute to the welcoming spirit of the community center. Young people rely on her to offer advice, care, and encouragement—and she always delivers with a smile. For the past three years, Noel has volunteered at the center every week and attended all major youth events.

Noel’s investment of time and friendship is cherished by Wingspan participants and staff, and she is a valued member of the Wingspan family. Her volunteerism extends to vocal and gracious appreciation of other volunteers as well. She brings authenticity and praise to the lives of those who may not often receive it, and Wingspan is thankful for her dedication.


One Response to “Award Winners are Honored at the Wingspan Dinner”

  1. Richard McLaughlin says:

    Congrats Noel de la TIerra!!! :) u was amazing camp counselor from 2010 to 2011 at OUTdoors! LGBTQ Youth Leadership Camp. U deserve this to receive 2012 Steve Hall Award Recipient. :)

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