Oceanside CA—MiraCosta College Interim Service Learning Coordinator Beatriz Palmer has earned a 2016 Community Champions Award, a recognition that celebrates unsung heroes by Long Beach-based managed health care company Molina Healthcare.
Palmer, whose extensive philanthropy includes endless hours of volunteering at Operation HOPE Vista, exemplifies the MiraCosta College mission of strengthening the communities it serves.
“It’s important to show our students that being engaged has an impact on others in the community,” Palmer said. “It’s important that we try to make a difference.”
Palmer moved to North County from Mexico when she was just a toddler, and the help she and her family received from neighbors and social service organizations while growing up left a lasting impression on the importance of serving others. Palmer emphasized that her service also is an outward expression of her faith.
“She is a model example of civic engagement and service, and she demonstrates her individual philanthropy in her personal life just as much as her professional mission,” wrote Associate Psychology Instructor Anjeanette Oberg in a nomination form submitted on behalf of MiraCosta College, NAMI on Campus and the Service Learning Department. “Bea commits a great deal of her personal time and resources serving Operation HOPE Vista, which provides shelter and support to homeless families in transition. Bea gathers food and household items donated by the community to help meet the needs of the families being served. Additionally, she and her entire family prepare meals twice a month, and also spend their Thanksgiving preparing dinner for the residents at the shelter. She always invites others to join her in service, and in so doing she enriches the lives of those around her.”
Molina Healthcare is a Fortune 500 company that specializes in providing health care plans to customers who are eligible for such programs as Medicare, Medi-Cal, Covered California and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. It created the Community Champions Award in 2006 to honor those who inspire others through selfless contributions impacting the health and well being of others. The Community Champions Awards are named in honor of Molina Healthcare’s emergency room physician-founder, Dr. C. David Molina.
Palmer was one of five 2016 winners who will be honored at an April 27 dinner and awards ceremony. In addition, a $1,000 grant will be awarded on behalf of each winner so that they can further contribute to his or her designated community organization.
Palmer’s efforts go beyond Operation HOPE Vista. “Bea regularly sponsors charitable fundraisers presented by her coworkers and students,” states the nominating form. “She is a reliable donor to the college and actively participates in the Charitable Payroll deduction program to support student scholarships and other student organizations. She sponsors a child as part of our Angel Network Tree each holiday season, and she is always one of the first to participate in any donation drive occurring at work, whether it is gathering shoes for the homeless, books and blankets to promote literacy in disadvantaged communities, food donations for the student food pantry, or used jewelry for our EOPS students.”
Her contributions also help in providing the care and education for a little girl in India. What’s more, she contributes daily to the community as an interim service learning coordinator overseeing a program that places students in nonprofits and public schools where they provide a variety of support services aligned with their studies.
“I get paid to share my passion with college students,” she said. “It’s awesome. It’s like a dream come true.”