WASHINGTON — An Albany woman is to be awarded a 2012 Citizen's Medal by President Barack Obama for her work in trying to curb obesity in children.
Pam Green-Jackson will join 17 other recipients of the 2012 Citizen's Medal at the White House on Friday, where she will accept the honor from Obama. The ceremony will also posthumously honor six teachers killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The Citizens Medal was established in 1969 to recognize American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. President Obama will recognize Americans whose work has had a significant impact on their communities but may not have garnered national attention.
The medal is the second-highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States.
Green-Jackson is the founder and CEO of the Youth Becoming Healthy Project, a nonprofit organization committed to reducing the epidemic of childhood obesity through nutrition, fitness education and physical activity programs. YBH was created in memory of Green-Jackson's only brother, Bernard Green, who died in 2004 from obesity-related illnesses. YBH provides resources for during- and after-school wellness programs for elementary and middle school students as well as a summer wellness camp where the students learn about exercise, nutrition and can participate in martial arts, walking club and dance programs.
"I'm completely honored and humbled to not only be nominated, but selected to receive such a prestigious award from the president," Green-Jackson said. "Ironically, I'm receiving the award almost nine years to the date of my brother's passing on Feb. 11, 2004, which makes it even more special. I just wanted to do something to honor his memory, so when the idea came to me to do this, my husband, Larry Jackson, took my vision and ran with it. He is also very deserving of this award."
Green-Jackson said she's also proud that First Lady Michelle Obama has made curbing childhood obesity a significant part of her social agenda, a move she said could help organizations like hers make strides in the future.
"Although we have turned the program over to the schools for the most part, YBH will continue to host the annual summer wellness camp for those youths referred by their doctors," Green-Jackson said. "We will also continue to partner with other organizations to continue raising awareness of the ongoing program, and my dream is to see programs like YBH all across the country."
Past medal recipients include Muhuammed Ali, Hank Aaron, Charlton Heston, Sen. Strom Thurmond, Bob Dole and Colin Powell.
Click here to see a full listing of the 2012 recipients and their bios.