Most 10-year-old kids are busy playing video games, mastering long division, and getting settled into tweendom, but not Jahkil Jackson — he’s busy changing the world, one Blessing Bag at a time.
When the Chicago tween was just 8-years-old, he founded the nonprofit Project I Am, which aims to help homeless men and women across the United States. As part of his mission, Jackson works to create Blessing Bags that are filled with personal hygiene essentials that are then distributed to the homeless community within the Chicago area. To date, Jackson and his family have given out nearly 7,000 Blessing Bags, and he even has the ambitious goal of giving out 6,000 more in 2018 alone.
“I started helping the homeless after going to feed some homeless people when I was 5 with my aunt,” Jackson shares with Babble. “I came home telling my parents that I wanted to buy them all homes because they shouldn’t be out there like that. My family later helped me start my own organization because I continued wanting to do something to help them. Since we couldn’t afford to buy homes, they helped me figure out something easier to manage since I was so young.”
Talk about an amazing kid!
Jackson’s selfless generosity has been catching the world’s attention since he first launched Project I Am, and was even given an impressive shout out by President Obama recently. But don’t think he’s letting all the fame go to his head — after all, he still has a ton of work left to do; and he certainly knows it.
“I have monthly packing parties with my basketball teammates, cousins, friends from my school, and dance teams,” he explains.
For Jackson, making sure that Project I Am is a success is his biggest priority, and that means a lot of hands-on work is needed.
“We do assembly lines with toiletry items such as socks, tissue, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand-sanitizer, wipes, pocket tissue and granola bars,” he tells Babble. “These items help them in their daily lives.”
Jackson’s entrepreneurial spirit has clearly served him well, and is what ultimately led him to a partnership opportunity with Dreams for Kids, which helps kids learn the necessary skills to create organizations that are profitable, sustainable, and take action to solve serious social problems such as homelessness.
But even with a whip-smart mindset toward changing the world, Jackson still has some fun ideas about his future. “When I grow up,” he says, “I would love to play basketball professionally in the NBA, but ultimately, I would LOVE to own my own NBA team.”
Honestly, with his clear aptitude for taking on ambitious projects, I have no doubt this kid will one day own a basketball team! Still, Jackson points out that there is no need to wait for the future do great things. And boy, is he right.
“My message for kids,” he tells Babble, “is to not wait until you are an adult to become a change agent or entrepreneur, because you can do it now! It is very important to volunteer and give back to the community. I also want everyone to know that homeless people are people too!”
What an amazing young man and what a great reminder that the kids we are raising today really do care a whole awful lot about making tomorrow brighter and better.