U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) announced that Beatriz (Bea) Palmer, an educator at MiraCosta College and the Board President of Operation HOPE-North County, is the August Constituent of the Month.
Palmer is the Program Manager for the Service Learning and Volunteer Center at MiraCosta College, where she works alongside faculty and community members to support students with experiential learning—a teaching and learning pedagogy that combines students’ learning with community service and civics. This role has been life changing for Palmer and her family. Bea is married to John F. Palmer, a veteran Marine, and has three children (Grace, John, and Tiani) and two grandchildren (Jasmine and John).
She is a first-generation high school and college graduate, daughter of immigrants, whose parents were farm workers who learned to read and write as adults. Growing up, Palmer and her family experienced housing insecurity, and by the time she reached high school they had moved 25 times and attended eight different schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, a master’s degree in sociology, and is currently pursuing a EdD in educational leadership and higher education at San Diego State University.
Palmer goes above and beyond to ensure students have opportunities to grow personally and academically. These experiences equip students with stronger cultural and social capital, which are necessary tools for their careers. Service Learning students, like many college students, struggle with difficult life challenges including food and housing insecurity, and are often the first in their family to attend college. Palmer is passionate about supporting students’ academic pathway to equip them to be the next civic leaders and advocate in their own communities.
“I feel deeply committed to education and the many organizations who once helped us navigate life and the many symptoms of poverty. It’s an honor to advocate for the importance to fund programs like Operation HOPE-North County (OHNC) and to build partnerships with local cities and dignitaries, non-profits, and educational partners like MiraCosta College and Palomar College,” said Palmer. “It’s an honor to serve in this capacity with the newest Executive Director Jimmy Figueroa, whom I met at MiraCosta College when he was a student prior to transferring to UC Berkeley and Law School.”
She added, “Serving in this role has allowed me to bridge resources for students experiencing homelessness and explore their own career paths at MiraCosta College, and at the same time help connect shelter clients and staff to MiraCosta College. Connecting students to the many non-profits that once supported our family is not only rewarding, it is also a perfect way to give back to my community. Places like Brother Benno’s Foundation, North County Life Line, MAAC, San Diego Food Bank, and so many more were the same organizations that fed us, dressed us, and provided many resources to my family. It’s also powerful to see how many students who come from disproportionately impacted families are recognizing that their communities are not places of deficit, but rather communities thriving with resilience, resources, culture, and opportunities for learning and growing.”
“It’s an honor to work at a college that values ‘community.’ We really do have a culture of care and community at MiraCosta College, and our mission and cultural competencies makes that clear too,” said Palmer. “These experiential learning opportunities are perfect for career and major exploration, networking, employability skills, scholarships and transfer applications and civic engagement.”
Additionally, Palmer serves on various campus committees as a way to elevate her program and equity on her college campus. She was instrumental in starting and growing the campus food pantry and large food distributions, and CalFresh resources that address food insecurity on the college campus. Palmer also serves on the Steering Committee and co-chairs the Racial Justice Committee of the Alliance for Regional Solutions, a collective of 60+ non-profit organizations, many of whom are Service Learning Community Partners, such as the NSDC Promise, North County Lifeline, Interfaith, Vista Community Clinic and more. This year Palmer was appointed as the newest member of the UCSD’s Community Advisors. Palmer was named MiraCosta College Foundation, Philanthropist of the Year in 2021, and Outstanding Classified Staff in 2016 and Outstanding Employee Award.
In addition to her role at MiraCosta College, Palmer has served 16 years as a volunteer, the last 6 years as a board member of OHNC, a shelter for families with children and single women experiencing homelessness. In June 2022, she became the first Black Latina Board President of the shelter. In her commitment to addressing homelessness, Palmer now serves as a Housing Commissioner for the City of Oceanside. Palmer has received numerous community awards including NSDC NAACP, Live Well San Diego, Molina Health Care, and Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath’s office.
See below for Rep. Levin’s statement recognizing Bea Palmer in the Congressional Record:
“Madam Speaker, it is my honor to recognize Beatriz Palmer as my August Constituent of the Month. As we begin another school year, we must continue to support and uplift the work of local educators and community leaders who are going above and beyond to help students succeed.
“Palmer is the Program Manager for the Service Learning and Volunteer Center at MiraCosta College, where she focuses on helping students combine their studies with community service and civic engagement. Her passion for public service is evident in her work at the college and the community, where she is helping to foster the next generation of young people and adults who understand the power of civic engagement and giving back to their community.
“In addition to her role at the college, Palmer serves as the new board president of Operation HOPE-North County, a shelter for families with children and single women experiencing homelessness. Operation HOPE-North County provides critical wrap-around and case management services for families with children and single women, and the families who graduate from their program. Prior to her board role, Palmer and her family volunteered preparing and purchasing meals for the shelter residents, supported the kids program, brought others to OHNC, and created fundraisers and drives for the shelter. She continues to advocate for housing needs throughout the community, connecting college students to the organization for service opportunities, and providing other support to advance Operation HOPE-North County’s vital mission.
“I am incredibly grateful for constituents like Palmer who are committed to helping our students succeed and growing a generation of community members who appreciate the value of public service. Our District is brighter because of her dedication to her students and her community. I have no doubt that Palmer will continue to inspire future leaders, and I’m honored to recognize her as my August Constituent of the Month.”