Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Today Tuesday June 5, 2012 the AWOD is Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Democratic Vice President of the United States Joe Biden. Jill Tracy Biden (née Jacobs, previously Stevenson) was born June 5, 1951 in Hammonton, New Jersey and grew up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Moving several times while very young, she and her four younger sisters spent the majority of their childhood in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Her father, Donald C. Jacobs (1927–1999), was a bank teller who became head of a savings and loan in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. His family name had originally been Giacoppa before her Italian grandfather anglicized it. Her mother, Bonny Jean Jacobs (1930–2008), was a homemaker. The family was not particularly religious, but in ninth grade, Jill independently took classes in order to join the Presbyterian church.
Jill always intended to have her own career. She began working at age 15, which included waitressing at the Jersey Shore. She attended Upper Moreland High School, where she was somewhat rebellious and enjoyed her social life, but always liked English class. She graduated in 1969.
She married Joe Biden in 1977 and became stepmother to his two young sons from his first marriage, Beau and Hunter, whose mother and baby sister died in a car accident. Joe and Jill Biden have a daughter, Ashley, born in 1981. Now their three children, Ashley is a social worker; Beau, is the Attorney General of the State of Delaware and a Major in the Delaware Army National Guard; and Hunter is a lawyer. They have two daughters-in-law, Kathleen and Hallie, and are also the proud grandparents of five children: Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, and Hunter.
Jill Biden wears many hats: she is a mother and grandmother, she is a life-long educator, she is a proud Blue Star mom, and an active member of her community. As Second Lady, Jill works to bring attention to the sacrifices made by military families, to highlight the importance of community colleges to America’s future, and to raise awareness around areas of particular importance to women, including breast cancer prevention. Jill also continues to teach English full-time at a community college in nearby Virginia.
Jill has always said that community colleges are “one of America’s best-kept secrets.” She is working to highlight the critical role of community colleges around the country in preparing the American workforce of the future. In the fall of 2010, she hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges with President Obama, and she continues to work on this outreach on behalf of the Administration – frequently visiting campuses, meeting with students and teachers, as well as industry representatives around the country.
As a military mom, Jill understands first-hand how difficult it can be to have a loved one deployed overseas. In Delaware, she was active with a nonprofit organization called Delaware Boots on the Ground, which helps families during times of military deployment by organizing community events to raise awareness and support. As Second Lady, Jill has dedicated herself to shining a light on military families’ strength and courage as well as the challenges that they face. She travels regularly to military bases in both the United States and abroad to speak with service members and their families.
Through their Joining Forces initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden have issued a national challenge to all Americans to take action and find ways to support and engage our military families in their own communities. Joining Forces aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of our society – citizens, communities, businesses, non-profits, faith based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government – to ensure military families have the support they have earned. At www.joiningforces.gov, Americans can find many ways to take action.
In 1993, after four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer, Jill started and is was the President the nonprofit organization, Biden Breast Health Initiative in Delaware which provides educational breast health awareness programs free of charge to schools and other groups in the state of Delaware. In the past 18 years has educated more than 10,000 high school girls about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. For the past three years, Jill and the Vice President have served as the Honorary Co-Chairs for the Global Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C. Jill continues to stress the importance of breast cancer research and early detection.
In 2007, Biden helped found Book Buddies, which provides books for low-income children. Also, after years of teaching English to college and high school students, Biden has wrote a book of her own.
She wrote a children’s story, “Don’t Forget, Nana, God Bless Our Troops,” told from the point of view of granddaughter Natalie Biden and a tribute to soldiers and their families. Biden, called Nana by her granddaughter, has met with many military families and said she thought of doing the book as she realized how many people did not understand their experiences. The story is especially personal because son Beau Biden, spent a year in Iraq. According to Simon & Schuster, “the readers follow Natalie’s experience as she learns to cope with missing her father and finds comfort in the kindness of members of her community, including teachers and neighbors and the strength and pride that she and her mother and brother felt from being part of a military family. The book also includes resources about what readers can do to support military service members and their families serving at home and abroad.”
Jill has been an educator for three decades. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Jill taught English at a community college in Delaware, at a public high school and at a psychiatric hospital for adolescents. Jill earned her Doctorate in Education from the University of Delaware in January of 2007. Her dissertation focused on maximizing student retention in community colleges. Since 2009, she has been a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College and is thought to be the first Second Lady to hold a paying job while her husband is Vice President. She also has a two Master's Degrees — both of which she earned while working and raising a family.