MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Giving Back Makes Me Feel Great
Giving Back Makes Me Feel Great
Project I Am was created by Jahkil Naeem Jackson when he was 8 years old. Jahkil, now 10, has a heartfelt desire to help those in need. After helping his aunt distribute food to the Chicago homeless, he knew that he wanted to do more to make a difference.
It quickly became Jahkil’s mission to build awareness of homelessness and to help the homeless population by offering them what he calls “Blessing Bags,” a giveaway filled with wipes, socks, deodorant, hand sanitizer, granola bars, toothbrush, toothpaste, bottled water, and more.
Jahkil has donated Blessing Bags to those in need at Cornerstone Center, Franciscan House, Pacific Garden Mission, Covenant House, Teen Living Center, Inspiration Kitchen, Olive Branch and True To Life Foundation. With adult supervision, Jahkil also does hand-to-hand distribution throughout Chicago and Skid Row in Los Angeles, Ca.
In 2016, Jahkil, along with his friends and family, distributed over 1,600 Blessing Bags. With a goal of 5,000 Blessing Bags distributed, Jahkil surpassed the goal, giving out 5,140, which includes blessings to orphans in Mbabane, Swaziland, as well as hurricane victims in Florida, Houston and Puerto Rico. In 2018, he wants to distribute 6,000 blessing bags. Jahkil also wants to help duplicate Detroit’s tiny homes initiative for the homeless in Chicago. Additionally, Jahkil hopes to join forces with youth from across the country to give back, encouraging them to give back. To make this happen he is asking the public for supplies and monetary donations.
Summer 2016, he began to work with Heartland Alliance putting together bags to help with their initiative. Heartland Alliance is one of the world’s leading anti-poverty organizations, working in communities in the U.S. and abroad to serve those who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. During his visit, he learned more about what this organization does to help the homeless and was named an official youth ambassador for the organization.
Winter 2017, Jahkil became a member of the WE International Youth Council. WE is a movement that exists to make the world a better place. WE Day is also a celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities.
Most notably, Jahkil was acknowledged by President Barack Obama and the Obama Foundation for being one of the people to make a difference in society in 2017.
Jahkil is one very busy 10-year-old. When he isn’t hard at work distributing his Blessing Bags to those in need, he can be found doing one of several extra curricular activities. Jahkil is an avid basketball player, is a member of the Stick and Move breakdance team, and also tap dances with Madd Rhythms. The thespian-in-the-making has been featured in the short film Candles, has appeared in a Chuckie Cheese and K-mart commercial, was seen in an episode of Fox Television’s "Empire," will be seen in an episode of NBC’s "Chicago PD" and was a member of the Porgy and Bess opera at Chicago’s Lyric Opera House. Additionally, he takes acting class with Kids W.A.Y Acting Academy and has trained with Second City and Green Room. Jahkil has also been featured on the runway for multiple fashion shows.
According to projectgivingkids.org, service and volunteering help build empathy in children. Children who are empathetic do better in school, get along better with others and form stronger relationships, making them more resilient and successful throughout their lives. It is no surprise that the most successful leaders have high levels of empathy too.