And a child shall lead them!
Before he'd hit his double-digits, Jahkil Jackson, 12, from the South Side of Chicago had already helped more people than some adults have in their lifetime. At 8-years old, Jackson created Project I Am, a non-profit dedicated to helping people in need. To date, they've given away more than 35,000 of their signature "Blessing Bags" to people all over the world.
At the tender age of 5, he was already thinking of a plan to help one of the half-million people in the United States with insecure housing. After passing someone living on the street, he asked his mother to buy houses for all homeless people, although she told him no, he wanted to find a way to help.
"Seeing people on the street made me really sad because I thought everybody had homes," Jackson told Today. "When I'm giving the bags to people, it makes me feel like I'm getting one step closer to demolishing the whole homeless thing… and it makes me happy to see the smiles on their faces," Jackson said.
He's now added seniors to his help list, providing more than 300 with Blessing Bags since the pandemic began.
"I don't think it's safe for anybody to go outside right now," Jahkil told CNN. "So, I decided to give them the daily essentials like hand sanitizer, which is very important, wipes, tissue. I feel like those really help them."
His kindness and philanthropy have gotten him recognized by other philanthropic people and organizations. Project I Am received sponsorship from Lebron James and The Heartland Alliance, one of the leading anti-poverty organizations in the country named him youth ambassador in 2016. The next year, former President Barack Obama called him one of the three most influential people of 2017. In an interview with Forbes, he said, "To know that someone like him knows my name, and supports what I do encourages me to keep moving forward every day,"
Ten-year-old Jahkil Jackson is on a mission to help homeless people in Chicago. He created kits full of socks, toiletries, and food for those in need. Just this week, Jahkil reached his goal to give away 5,000 “blessing bags.” That’s a story from 2017. https://t.co/muxPZnEGkd— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 29, 2017
He's also been working as a motivational speaker, empowering children to follow their dreams and give back to their communities.
After having the chance to speak with Jackson on Instagram Live, 10-year-old Rylee Davis from Miamisburg, Ohio, decided to become more involved in the project.
"Not everybody in the world is as fortunate as us, and they might not have everything that we might have at home," Davis said told Dayton 24/7 Now. "There's been tornadoes, and now COVID-19 and now everything else that's going on in the world. I just think that if there's been kids that can be a helping hand like my shirt says [Don't Wait To Be Great], we can make a big difference. It's not just the adults that can do stuff."
Jackson plans to continue his work as a social entrepreneur and follow his passions as a businessman.
"I want to own my own NBA Team, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. I am already working on plans to make sure this happens," Jackson told Forbes. "When I grow up, I want to be a part of the solution to end homelessness and help the underserved in this country."
Continue being a blessing to the world, Jahkil!
Photo Credit: Project I Am