Bobbie Bernstein: Philanthropist, Volunteer, Donor
“The power of one man or one woman doing the right thing for the right reason, and at the right time, is the greatest influence in our society.” – Jack Kemp, U.S. Housing Secretary 1989-1993
Today, while many people are understandably concerned with how situations in the world and country are affecting their own lives, it is a breath of fresh air to find someone like 72-year-old Bobbie Bernstein who is solely focused on the lives of others and ways she can affect them positively.
Perhaps it was her thirty years as a physical education teacher that helped fan the flames of her desire to make an impact, but now more than ever, when Bobbie sees a need, she acts. There is no hesitation.
Case in point, when she read in the paper last year about a Boca Ciega High School student who had his baseball catcher’s equipment stolen, she contacted the school, met the teen and decided to replace the gear that had gone missing.
In an article printed in the Gulfport newspaper The Gabber, the father of the teen was quoted saying “It’s amazing to think that there are people out there like her. Just amazing…”
Indeed, anyone who thinks they can’t make a difference because they are only one person has but only to look at Bobbie’s life to see how wrong they are.
As a teacher, Bobbie understands the impact one person can have on a child’s life. In fact, though her teaching days are over, she is more active in her community than ever.
“I guess I have a hard time choosing which activities I want to partake in, so I choose to do it all,” Bobbie laughed. “I don’t really have time to sleep.”
She is not lying. The full list of her current memberships and organizations with which she is an active participant can easily fill an entire page; it ranges from being a foundation director and choir member at her church, Church by the Sea, to the Hospitality Director of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Greater Gulf Beaches, to a Poll worker, to being a life supporting member of the Seminole/Largo branch of All Children’s Hospital, to an active volunteer of the Pinellas Education Foundation and everything in between. She is also a heavy supporter of the arts and has season tickets to several theaters and art centers.
“I am actually busier now than I ever was when I taught school and ran a home with a family,” Bobbie stated.
In addition, she has given more than 100 gallons of blood and platelets, the first woman to reach that level in Pinellas County. “I know that I am helping people every time I donate, and to be honest, it’s the easiest donation a person can make.”
From time to money to life-saving blood, Bobbie donates more than her fair share for the community’s benefit. She has built her life around giving back to her community, especially as it relates to education.
“Education has always been important to me, particularly as a former teacher. When I hear about children that have the ability and desire to go far, but parents that can’t afford it, I do what I can,” Bobbie stated. “That’s why I support organizations like the Pinellas Education Foundation. We need to be actively advocating for and supporting these kids.”
And while Bobbie barely has a free minute for herself in her busy schedule, she does make time to play tennis, pickleball or golf and does travel when she can. In fact, she hopes to soon visit Scotland and Ireland among other locations.
When asked what her future goals are, Bobbie has no plans to slow down.
“I plan to keep traveling and volunteering and finding ways I can help others. I don’t think people realize that giving just a tiny bit of themselves can make all the difference in the world. I would ask others to consider the ways they can do their part to give back. Life is short. I’m going to do what I can, while I can,” Bobbie emphasized.
But then she smiles. “I should probably make a goal to get more sleep too… if I can fit it in.”
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