Jahkil Jackson is the founder of Project I Am. At only 12 years old, Jackson is already all about creating change. Project I Am distributes “blessing bags,” that contain essential items for the homeless and works to raise awareness about the homeless crisis throughout Chicago.
“My motto is, ‘Don’t wait to be great,'” Jackson told In The Know. “It means that us young people don’t have to wait until we’re adults to be change agents.”
Over the past four years alone, Project I Am has distributed over 40,000 blessing bags. But Jackson’s story starts when he was just 5. When his mom took him to feed the homeless, he didn’t understand why they couldn’t just give each person a house. After his parents explained the issue some more, they decided to create blessing bags.
“They thought it was going to be a one-time thing,” he said. “I thought we were gonna continue this — so they were actually really supportive of that. But if we wanted it to keep on going, we had to build a structure around this so that’s when we came up with the organization to help fund it.”
Project I Am has since been recognized by major organizations, including the Obama Foundation. Jackson even got to meet the former President.
“Family has been very important,” Jackson told In The Know. “It felt great to know that my parents were on board and ready to support me because lots of kids don’t have that type of support system.”
Ultimately, the 12-year-old believes in the undeniable force of young people.
“That’s what I preach to adults all the time, that they have to start listening to us young people,” he told In The Know. “I feel like I want my legacy to be just somebody who is kind and hardworking and inspirational to the youth. That’s the kind of mark I want to leave on the world.”
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