Becky Beacom, a health educator with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, will receive the President's Volunteer Service Call to Action Lifetime Award on Sept. 13 in Palo Alto. The award is given to individuals who have given more than 4,000 hours to volunteering.
Beacom will receive an official letter from President Obama, a certificate and pin. She is a 30-year volunteer with Abilities United, a Palo Alto nonprofit organization that serves Santa Clara and San Mateo residents with disabilities. She volunteers as the instructor of the pre-natal fitness class at the Betty Wright Swim Center. Beacom oversees the medical foundation's prenatal education and numerous community-outreach programs. She is founder and leader of the SHARE Committee, a collaboration of home, school, and community groups to ensure a sense of well-being for the youth of Palo Alto.
Beacom lives with her husband in Palo Alto and is the mother of two. She began volunteering at Abilities United in 1981 when she was looking for a pool for expectant mothers to exercise in throughout the year. She has taught the weekly pre-natal fitness class since finding the warm-water pool at Betty Wright.
"I look forward to my Saturday mornings and am so grateful for the relationships that I've enjoyed over these years," she said.
Most students take her health education and movement class from the end of the first trimester until a week or two before their due date. The class also provides a social outlet for pregnant women. Sometimes the outcome is unanticipated, she said.
"Right after one of the mothers gave birth, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and she had to return to work. Her entire group stepped in and helped her out with her newborn baby," she said.
Beacom said the prenatal class has real long-term value.
"Women today are facing greater demands. They are stepping into careers and motherhood, often simultaneously. Women should develop healthy fitness habits during their pregnancy so that they will continue these changes into the new life they are creating."
The award ceremony will take place at Abilities United, 3864 Middlefield Road, on Tuesday (Sept. 13) at 1 p.m. The President's Volunteer Service Award is issued by Points of Light Institute and the Corporation for National and Community Service on behalf of the President of the United States to recognize the best in American spirit and to encourage all Americans to improve their communities through volunteer service and civic participation.