Palo Alto, CA – The Community Services Department of the City of Palo Alto is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 Community Star Awards. Each year we take the time to recognize individuals or organizations who have helped support the goals of the department. This year these individuals will be recognized and presented with proclamations in front of the City Council on Monday, May 16 at 7 PM.
This year’s Community Star Award recipients are the following:
- Arts & Sciences Division: Teri Vershel
- Office of Human Services: Summer’s Excellent Adventure Volunteers
- Open Space, Parks & Golf Division: Elizabeth Hogan
Recreation Division: Becky Beacom
Arts & Sciences Division:
Teri Vershel has been an active volunteer for the Palo Alto Art Center and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation for more than a decade. Her love of art brought her to the Art Center in 1998, where she served as a volunteer Project LOOK! docent, providing tours to hundreds of school children. She was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation in 2003 and has served as an active member of the Palo Alto Art Center’s capital campaign to renovate the Art Center since 2006. She has spent more than four years sharing her love of and passion for the Art Center and its important work with hundreds of community members through the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation’s fundraising efforts and her dedicated work was instrumental in securing numerous community donations for the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation’s capital campaign. Teri Vershel’s commitment to the Palo Alto Art Center and Palo Alto Art Center Foundation has been critical to the success of the Foundation’s $3.6 million capital campaign to renovate the Art Center for the benefit of future generations of Palo Alto residents.
Office of Human Services:
Summer’s Excellent Adventures is a summer camps for children ages 5-15 with special needs and often times is the only camp that a child with special needs can attend and have the same type summer camp experience that typically developing children enjoy. Youth volunteers are crucial to the success of this camp. Each day of camp, each volunteer in paired with a special needs child to be their “buddy” for the day. The youth volunteers demonstrate true caring, understanding and compassion by playing with the campers in the park, assisting them with their craft projects, and playing board games with them. The connection developed between the volunteer and camper has a profound positive impact on both their lives. During the summer of 2010 alone, 51 youth volunteered over 1,110 hours of service at this one important camp.
Open Space, Parks & Golf Division:
Elizabeth Hogan, a Palo Alto resident for the past 38 years, is a current member and former president of the Friends of Palo Alto Parks, which has contributed greatly to improving the City's parks and open Space areas. She served as President of the Palo Alto Historical Association in the late 90’s and as editor for 2nd and 3rd editions of Parks of Palo Alto, which chronicles the history and development of Palo Alto's Parks and Open Space. Elizabeth Hogan updated and improved the Palo Alto Parks and Open Space web pages; providing interesting historical information and ensuring consistency between each individual park web page. Ms. Hogan has volunteered at Rinconada Park for the past two years beautifying the flower beds and surrounding landscaping by weeding and pruning once per month. Her interest in recreation sports is demonstrated by her active involvement on the Board of the Palo Alto Lawn Bowling Club and membership in the Palo Alto Women’s Golf Association.
Becky Beacom, an employee of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation for 30 years, has held a position of Education Manager for the past 16 years. Ms. Beacom has shown great resolve, commitment and leadership for youth well-being in Palo Alto. Ms. Beacom was a founder and leader of the SHARE committee, fostering a collaboration of home, school, and community to ensure for our youth a sense of wholeness and well-being, and a clear understanding of the many avenues towards happiness and success. Her expertise, analysis and public outreach has helped educate the Palo Alto community about the power of Social Norms, correcting miss perceptions about teens and influencing positive and healthy behavior in adolescents. Becky Beacom provides sound guidance, leadership and expertise for Palo Alto’s suicide prevention work and is a member of the Project Safety Net Executive Committee. Her passion for elevating the youth voice by building authentic relationships between adults and teens has been consistent and unwavering, as seen through her support of Palo Alto Youth Forums, Developmental Assets and annual Youth Collaborative events. Ms. Beacom is a founding member of the Palo Alto Drug and Alcohol Community Collaborative whose mission is to reduce underage drug and alcohol use and abuse in Palo Alto.