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Beck recognized for work with youths

Barbara Beck, the Working Together Coalition’s Be Inspiring recipient for February, has been a youth advocate, involved community leader and a smart, vivacious member on numerous committees for years. Many of her jobs and positions revolve around youth.

“I have seen what drug and alcohol problems can do to individuals and families and want to do all I can to prevent any of our youth from going down that path, if at all possible,” Beck said, noting that is why youth are so important to her. “Our youth are our future and we owe them all the support we can offer them to be the best individuals they can be.”

Beck recently took a job with the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance as office manager. But in her heart, she will always be a teacher.

Beck has been part of the Pine River-Backus community for 13 years. She’s originally from Illinois with a 15-year stopover in Maryland.

As a child, Beck had a lot of positive adult mentors in her life, including her parents, an aunt and her third-grade teacher.

As a substitute teacher with the PR-B district, she also worked with the youth at the Village, an afterschool and summer program to enrich youth lives.

Later, Beck worked at Happy Dancing Turtle as an education coordinator teaching environmental awareness and sustainable practices.

Beck has been an outstanding member of the Working Together Coalition, helping with a number of projects, including assisting with Teens Leading the Way activities. She has also had a one-to-one opportunity to inspire as a Kinship Partner.

Youth have been at the center of all of Beck’s career choices.

Asked how you build a healthy child, Beck said she would start by instilling the values of respect, honesty, integrity, responsibility and a good work ethic. You also need to provide avenues to build good social skills and the skills to make good choices throughout their lives.

Beck sees the challenges in the community, including setting a positive example for youth. The community needs to make sure families are getting the tools they need to provide a positive home environment.

Adults in the community need to be aware of the potential assets we have in our youth and the need to use respect in our interactions. Youth need to be mindful of our community laws and, as adults, it is our job to be active in supporting these laws with our youth.

Beck has had her share of obstacles as a youth along with physical challenges as an adult. Her personal skill set allows her to take these setbacks and turn them into teachable moments and opportunities to grow personally.

Beck recently posted on Facebook that she had a “Clean Report” from her oncologist and there were 76 “likes” next to her post. What a tribute and demonstration of how many people love and care about her.

Be Inspiring is a new, monthly campaign from the Working Together Coalition to recognize those in the community who have had an inspiring, positive impact on youth. Whether it’s through volunteering or just being there, each nominee has done his or her best to create a caring, friendly environment for all youth.

Nominations are being accepted for future Be Inspiring recipients. Submit a nomination to Kelly Felton at 218-330-8129 or by visiting

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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