Chattanoogan: Ken Jordan

Thursday, August 1, 2002 - by Nicole S. Gwyn
Ken Jordan
Ken Jordan
- photo by John Wilson

Ken Jordan, Special Assistant to Mayor Bob Corker, plans to hang his favorite picture in his new downtown apartment - as soon as he finds time to finish settling in.

On the surface, it is the picture of a barefoot girl doing homework on the porch of a dilapidated house. However, when Mr. Jordan looks at it, he sees a disadvantaged youth trying to learn in less-than-ideal circumstances without adult supervision.

"What it says to me is that anyone can learn regardless of socioeconomic background when given the right motivation," the Morehouse College graduate said.

Mr. Jordan, who is City Hall's coordinator for education and HOPE VI, said helping children rise above their circumstances is "part of my effort to support the Mayor's mission."

On July 17, 2002, Mr. Jordan accepted a 2-year membership to the Board of Directors at the Big Brothers-Big Sisters Association of Chattanooga in his effort to help children.

Judy Eiselstein, Executive Director of the United Way organization, said Mr. Jordan was nominated to the Board because of his commitment to educating youth and "qualifying them for life."

"I knew Ken when he was Kenny at Notre Dame High School," she said. "I know he has the highest integrity and the highest commitment to improving our community and will bring all of those things to our Board."

For a year and two months, Mr. Jordan has been a partner with a "Little" named Derrick, a.k.a. "Big D," as his Big Brother Ken calls him. Derrick was matched to Mr. Jordan because he, too, was an only children living with his mother.

"It's important because it allows an individual to become exposed to different things," Mr. Jordan said about his involvement with the organization.

Mr. Jordan said Derrick has been exposed to City Hall and Morehouse, two places he might not have come in close contact with otherwise.

In addition, Mr. Jordan said partnering with Derrick for over a year would give the sixth grader money for college.

"For 96 hours of your time, someone can have a full scholarship," Mr. Jordan said, referring to one of two Community Program scholarships administered by Big Brother-Big Sisters.

The scholarship program Mr. Jordan referred to requires that volunteers take the child out 8-12 hours or 2-3 times per month for one year in order to qualify for the scholarship, according to Wesley Davis, a case manager for the organization.

Once it is verified that the high school graduate was matched for a year through Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Mr. Davis said that a need-based scholarship is given for expenses not covered by Pell Grants and other forms of federal financial aid.

"He'll be able to go to UTC when he graduates," Mr. Jordan said.

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