- June 14th, 2013 by editor
FULL DISCLOSURE: Tracy and I are related by our dogs, Addie and Monty. We also share the name “Beck”. Now you know…
Tracy Beckerman ranks up there with the greatest lemonade makers of all time. The sour in her path has a way of turning sweet! The more time I spend with Tracy the more I realize that the incredible energy, enthusiasm and off-the charts wit is a choice that she makes every day and with complete grace. We all have a back story. And we all have a list of things that maybe could be a bit better, easier or even disappear all together from our daily grind. But it is Tracy who wows day in and day out with the way she takes all of this and serves it up as a syndicated column, a book, live appearances and more. And forget the “for show” – Tracy is that girl. You know, the one you want to spend more time with. The one with whom you can laugh, cry, whine and wine with (and perhaps even eat a wee bit too much with) all in one sitting. Tracy is one who will show up and bring all kinds of fun to the party (I am thinking #cheesesuite) making friends and bringing sunshine to the scene. Bottom line – time with Tracy leaves you longing for more. If you’ve not had the pleasure allow me to introduce you to my friend, the tour de force that is the wonderful Tracy Beckman.
What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?
When my kids were in elementary school, they were introduced to a DARE (Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education) program which was co-sponsored by our police department and a group of community volunteers called the Municipal Alliance to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse. At the time, I thought I was years away from ever needing to educate my kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. But I soon realized that the earlier you get to your kids with this message, the more likely they are to stay substance-free. I was so impressed with the work the Municipal Alliance did to educate our kids, provide safe, fun social events for them in town, and rally the community behind these efforts that I joined the group and went on to chair it for the next 8 years. I really do believe it takes a village to raise our children, and that everyone needs to volunteer some of their time to ensure that our kids grow up safe, healthy and happy.
What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?
When I was very young, my mother began running what she called, an “Extra Special Olympics.” This was a day of carnival games and fun for kids who were profoundly mentally disabled and had severe physical limitations, as well. All of the events and entertainment were tailored specifically to the needs and abilities of these kids. My mom was able to get almost all the goods and services for this event donated by members of the community. The joy this day brought to these children was immeasurable. Back then I thought it was just a fun carnival day with balloons and treats and rides and it didn’t strike me as strange that most of the attendees were in wheelchairs. Years later I could see the tremendous gift she gave these kids, and continued to give them for the 25 years she ran the event.
Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?
Although my mom worked full time, she was always helping out in our community, whether it was volunteering for her political party or our synagogue, raising money for Breast Cancer research, or awareness for the rights of special needs children and their families. She truly is my philanthropic hero!
What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?
Two years ago I spearheaded an event in our town called “Every 15 Minutes.” This is a national program run in many high school throughout the country. The name Every 15 Minutes comes from the statistic that a teen is killed every 15 minutes in an alcohol related automobile accident. Our event was a 2 day simulated teen drunk driving program that culminated in a mock trial of the driver and mock memorial service for the victims. It was a massive undertaking that involved nearly every emergency service personnel in our community, every business, the school and numerous parents and teens. We were able to get almost the entire program covered through donations of goods and services. We ran the program two days prior to the High School prom. Every year on prom weekend we have multiple incidences of underage drinking and driving.. some with serious results. After we ran this program, there were zero incidences of drunk driving in our town over prom weekend.
What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?
This past year I turned over the reins of the Municipal Alliance to a new chair and a new group of volunteers. They are going to run the Every 15 Minutes program again this spring and have instituted a number of new programs to help the kids continue to get the message to stay drug and alcohol free. I’m thrilled that I could set the stage for the continuation of this important group.
What would your kids say about all of this?
My kids know how passionate I am about this program specifically, and about volunteering in general. They have helped me run some of the events and participated in our middle school and high school peer leader programs. I’m very proud of the choices they continue to make and I hope they will carry a love for helping out in their community into adulthood.