MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
The month of March marks the annual observance of National Women’s History Month. It is a time to recognize the extraordinary achievements of women, both past and present.
One of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s own, Pamela Green Jackson, is a recipient of The 2010 Department of Defense Women’s History Month Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Role Model Award.
The award recognizes military members and DoD civilian employees who support the DoD mission, overseas contingency operations, or whose activities best epitomize the core values of their respective military service or organization.
Jackson, a public affairs specialist, Public Affairs Office, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, will receive the award during the DoD Women’s History Month Observance Program at the Pentagon Auditorium in Arlington, Va., Thursday.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected to receive this award. I realize that there are many other women out there doing great things for the communities they live and work in,” Jackson said. “Childhood obesity is a national epidemic and here in Georgia, we rank as the third highest state for obesity and other chronic diseases. Our children deserve better and my goal is to help reverse this growing trend.”
As part of her duties here, Jackson is responsible for promoting and enhancing the relationship between MCLB Albany and the Albany community by developing programs, training opportunities and events for youth.
These events include the creation of career development opportunities for thousands of area youth through job-shadowing and/or mentoring opportunities, base tours, hosting Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps units and other activities, both on and off the installation.
In 2009 alone, she coordinated 68 community events and numerous Marine volunteer support activities.
“It is a great honor for one of our own to receive such a prestigious award,” said Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany. “Community relations is absolutely critical to the success of our mission. The link to our community cannot be over emphasized. We are a part of the community and as such we should be involved and have a responsibility to be involved. I am proud of Pam’s achievements both on and off the job. She is an asset to the base and community,” he said.
Jackson was selected for the award because her involvement extends beyond federal employment.
She is best known for her work with childhood obesity.
Jackson is the founder of a non-profit organization called the Youth Becoming Healthy Project, Inc., founded in memory of her only brother, Bernard Green, who died in February 2004 from complications of morbid obesity and other related illnesses. She decided to lead the effort for school and policy changes to prevent children from having future health problems caused by obesity, unhealthy lifestyles and lack of physical education in schools.
“The mission of YBH is to reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity through nutrition education and fun physical activity programs by targeting youth in elementary and middle schools,” Jackson said.
Fitness centers have been placed in nine local schools so far, giving students the opportunity to participate in a safe physical activity program at the school they attend. Community partners provide funding, nutrition education and other services, as needed. YBH is currently partnering with The Albany Recreation and Parks Department to reach out to families and other underserved populations at three local community centers.
The program has become an integral component of the federally-mandated school wellness policy in Dougherty County, Georgia’s schools. This project has reached more than 3,500 students since its implementation by providing after school programs to help reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity. Jackson’s husband, Larry, oversees the daily operations and program management of YBH.
“Before there was a lot of media attention or public focus on problems associated with childhood obesity, there was in Dougherty County the Youth Becoming Healthy program, a pouring out of concern for young people by its founder, Pamela Green-Jackson,” said Dr. Sally Whatley, former superintendent, Dougherty County School System. “She has given herself, her heart and time to middle school youth in the Dougherty County School System.
“She began simply in one middle school with a mission to help children to lead healthy lifestyles hoping they would not be caught up with the medical problems associated with childhood obesity,” she said. “Her success in one school reinforced the growth of the program to reach more and more children. The impact of her effort has reached hundreds of middle school students causing many to make positive changes in their activities and behavior,” Whatley said.
Jackson’s efforts extend to educating the students’ families as well as the community, local elected officials and state and federal legislators through advocacy efforts. This commitment to ending the epidemic of childhood obesity has resulted in tangible results, including allowing the participants opportunities to pursue careers within the armed services and participate in high school and college sports.
In her quest to end childhood obesity, she has successfully advocated for the reinstatement of mandatory physical education in grades K-8 at the state and federal level. Her participation in these efforts with other organizations, including her testimony at the state capital, led to the passage of House Bill 229, The Student Health and Physical Education Act. This new legislation will make fitness assessments mandatory in schools and goes into effect in 2011.
YBH also hosted its first summer wellness camp in 2009 for youth ages 8 – 16 who were referred by their pediatricians for intervention.
“Obesity is among the top diseases that plague our youth today,” said Albany Mayor Willie Adams. “Pam and her husband have taken on the challange of reducing obesity using education, nutrition and exercise through the YBH program.”
Due to Jackson’s hard work, the YBH project gained national and international recognition in 2009. She was selected as a 2009 CNN Hero, one of only 28 chosen from a pool of more than 9,000 nominees worldwide.
Jackson’s community service record has earned her many accolades, both locally and nationally.
To name a few, Jackson has been featured on prominent television shows such as Larry King Live, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Montel Williams and E!. She has been named one of Georgia Trend’s 40-under-40 Best and Brightest in Georgia, honored as an “Unsung Hero” by the Congressional Black Caucus and by the Georgia General Assembly with Senate Resolution 667.
For more information about Jackson’s non-profit organization, visit her Web site at www.ybhproject.org.