Laughter is a way of life for the Jeff Foxworthy family, but after a visit to Africa by his now 17-year-old daughter Jordan, the Foxworthy's dinner table conversations became deadly serious.
During her trip to Kenya three years ago, a then 14-year-old Jordan saw firsthand the devastation caused by malaria, a preventable, curable disease that kills more African children than does HIV and AIDS. With the support of her parents, she decided to bite back against the mosquitoes that typically carry malaria.
Jordan teamed up with Colorado-based Compassion International to develop the Bite Back campaign, an initiative that raises money and awareness for the fight against malaria. Mobilizing an army of young people, the Bite Back campaign challenges teens to donate $10 to purchase a mosquito net that could save the life of a child at risk for contracting malaria. To date, Jordan's efforts have raised nearly half a million dollars for the Bite Back campaign.
"We can't sit back and wait for someone to fix this. We are the 'someones' who need to fix this," said Jordan, a high school junior in Atlanta. "I believe that giving $10 to buy a mosquito net is a tangible and affordable way for kids in the United States to help make a difference in the lives of needy kids around the world."
Jordan is using a number of strategies to raise support for the campaign. At her urging, her Atlanta-area school has taken on Bite Back as its fundraising project. Jordan also enlisted local restaurants to host Bite Back Nights, where a portion of the evening's sales were donated to the campaign. She is also using a Facebook group page to help get the word out. In recognition of her efforts, Jordan was invited by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to participate as a panelist in their Compassion in Action roundtable last December.
"Jordan Foxworthy is showing us that even in these tough economic times, giving a little can have a big impact on a child living in poverty," said Mark Hanlon, senior vice president of Compassion International.
Compassion International tackles unforeseen barriers to a child's healthy development, including widespread health epidemics such as malaria. Compassion's Malaria Intervention Program provides mosquito nets, malaria prevention education and access to medical treatment for children in malaria-affected areas.
Compassion International is the world's largest Christian child development organization that permanently releases children from poverty. Founded in 1952, Compassion successfully tackles global poverty one child at a time, serving more than 1 million children in 25 of the world's poorest countries. Recognizing that poverty is more than a lack of money, Compassion works holistically through local churches to address the individual physical, economic, educational and spiritual needs of children - enabling them to thrive, not just survive. Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator, has awarded Compassion its highest rating - four stars - for seven consecutive years.