As is evident by her email address, 17-year-old Bobbie Jean Jordan is “trying hard.” Nine years ago, her father, Bob Jordan, died of AIDS at age 32. That left Bobbie’s mother, Julia, full responsibility for raising her three daughters, Sheena (now 19), Bobbie, and Sara (now 16).
Julia worked outside the home until Bobbie’s seventh grade year. When she married Steve Green, a mechanic at Westblock Pacific, she was able to stay at home to reconnect with her daughters, and has home schooled the girls to catch up on their lives. They have made their home in Lake of the Woods for the past seven years.
Bobbie’s best memory of her dad was “Father’s Day in 1994 when we all went to Shafer State Park for a barbecue and we spent the whole day playing—that was the only time I can remember him not getting sick and having to go to the hospital” since his diagnosis five years earlier.
“My worst time was walking into my house after being gone for the day and seeing my mom and sister on the couch crying. For some reason, I just knew my father had died,” Bobbie recalled. Bob’s sister, Jeannette Burkette, remembers him as a caring person, who “always tried to help people that needed help.”
Bobbie, carrying on her father’s legacy of helping others, loves volunteer work. She says her biggest motivation is “the feeling I get when I help someone, and knowing that helping someone may change their life forever.”
But it’s not easy: She doesn’t have reliable transportation.
“I was volunteering for the Key Peninsula Community Services, where I stocked food and helped to serve the senior lunch, but my car broke down after my first day, so until I get a bus pass, I have to stay home,” she said. But she recently found a way to commute to St. Joseph’s Medical Center by bus, and this month will begin there as a “candy striper”—junior volunteer worker.
The teenager loves to sing and play basketball and soccer, but says she is not on any team right now “because all of my money is going to my program.” And what a program! Bobbie has set some lofty goals for her life.
In October, she will attend Clearfield Job Corps, and plans to join Weber University in 2005 to get a bachelor’s degree in horticultural science and crop life; she wants to work in agriculture and horticulture. Her ultimate dream is to get her degrees and serve in the Peace Corps. She would also like to become an HIV/AIDS educator when she returns from the Peace Corps.
But first things first. On June 19, she will travel to Ghana, West Africa, “to a place where AIDS is an epidemic, and where health care is not provided to most.” The venture is a personal mission for Bobbie, in conjunction with a nonprofit organization, Crosscultural Solutions.
Bobbie will pay the $4,655 cost of her trip through fund-raising activities and donations. “I am so fearful; but I’m not as afraid of the diseases as I am of flying there,” she says. “I know I won’t save the world, but I know I will change some lives.”