By Jules Lavallee
Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 09/6/2020 – Jahkil Jackson at 12-years-old is showing the spirit of America. Jahkil created Project I Am when he was 8-years-old. His compassion for others and love for all humanity is shown through “Blessing Bags,” given to the homeless. They are filled with wipes, socks, deodorant, hand sanitizer, granola bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, bottled water, and more. Jahkil was recognized as one of the three most influential people of 2017 by Barack Obama.
What are your dreams for the future? My dreams for the future are for the world to become a better place, free violence, racism, homelessness, poverty, and inequality.
What led you to start Project I AM?
I started Project I Am when I was 8-years-old with the help of my family. A few years before, when I was 5-years-old, I went to feed the homeless on lower Wacker in Chicago with my aunt and I didn’t understand why they were sleeping down there, why didn’t they have a home. I was totally confused and asked my dad and mom if we could buy them all homes. That could not happen so they helped me come up with something that I felt would be helpful. So many people do food and are into helping around the holidays, but I wanted to do something different, something that would last longer and something that I could handle at my age.
What do you see when you give your “Blessing Bags” to those in need?
I see smiles when I pass out the blessing bags. This motivates me to keep going because I feel like I am making a difference, even if it is temporary.
Can you share a few stories that touched your heart?
One of the stories that touched my heart is when I was giving out bags at a shelter and I met a lady. She ended up staying at our truck to tell us her story and how she became homeless. She has children and sadly fell into bad times. She made cool Donald Duck impressions which were awesome. It showed me that no matter what, you can always find a reason to smile.
You were named one of the three most influential people of 2017 by Barack Obama. What did you do when you heard about his incredible honor?
I was pretty chill at first. It was about 6 AM when I found out so I was super grumpy. I am not a morning person! My mom came to wake me up to tell me that Mr. Obama was tweeting about me. I was like, “am I going to lunch with him or something?” As the day went on, I began to feel why my mom was so excited. I finally got what was happening and why it was such a big deal and an honor!
How can businesses help with your efforts?
Businesses can help with my organization by donating blessing bag supplies (Amazon wish list is available), Also they go to my website and donate for me to purchase items for the blessing bags. Another way for businesses to help is to tell their colleagues about my efforts, word of mouth is the best way to promote and get people engaged. Lastly, businesses can host blessing bag packing parties.