Jahkil Jackson

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO Staff

Don't Wait To Be Great!  Us young people do not have to wait until we are adults to start our own businesses or become change-makers because we can do it RIGHT NOW.

In a world where many people overlook the issues of homelessness, there are remarkable individuals who refuse to turn a blind eye. One such individual is Jahkil Jackson, who, at the age of eight, decided to take matters into his own hands. Recognizing the plight of the homeless and determined to make a difference, Jackson founded Project I Am, a nonprofit organization that has since raised $400,000 and provided toiletry "blessing bags" to those in need in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and beyond.

152129Jahkil Naeem JacksonCharan Ingram

Jackson's journey as a philanthropist began in 2016 when he visited a homeless shelter in Chicago where he witnessed the harsh realities faced by the unhoused population. The experience had a profound impact on him, igniting a passion to help and inspire change. Jackson realized that he could use his voice and actions to make a difference, even as a child.

Project I Am: Spreading Hope and Dignity

Project I Am is dedicated to assisting those experiencing homelessness by distributing "blessing bags" filled with essential toiletries and personal care items. These thoughtful packages aim to bring a sense of comfort, dignity and hope to individuals living on the streets.

Since its inception, Project I Am has grown exponentially, expanding its reach from Chicago to cities across the United States and internationally. Jackson's efforts have not only impacted his local community but have inspired others to join him in his mission. Through partnerships with schools, corporations, and community organizations, Project I Am has become a powerful force for change. During the COVID-19 quarantine, Jackson has engaged over 200 youth from over 70 cities to make and distribute 7,500 blessing bags to those in need. To date, Project I Am has raised over $400,000 for those in need and has impacted over 100,000 people in need globally.  Additionally, Project I Am has engaged with over 1,000 youth across the world with community service opportunities.

Jackson's dedication to tackling homelessness has garnered widespread attention and recognition. He has become an inspiration for both young and old, proving that age is no barrier to making a meaningful impact. Through public speaking engagements and media appearances, Jackson has continued to use his platform to raise awareness about homelessness and encourage others to get involved.

Jackson is now a 2-time best-selling author and motivational speaker on a mission to influence children around the country to get involved in their communities. Jackson plans to continue to join forces with other like-minded youth to lead a life of service, encouraging them to find their passions and make the world a better place. To continue to reach his goals, he raises funds from the public for supplies and shipping.

Jackson's Books

Even with Jackson's many accomplishments, he has experienced bullying firsthand and so decided to write “I Am” to encourage children to stay positive, encouraged and never doubt themselves or their abilities. His hope was that this book would inspire kids to be great no matter what comes their way. 'Don't Wait to be Great' tells the story of Jackson's journey to becoming one of the country's top youth social entrepreneurs by creating Project I Am. 

152157'Don't Wait to be Great'Project I Am

Jackson has earned many accolades over the years. He was named a Youth Ambassador for Heartland Alliance in the Summer of 2016 (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).  In the winter of 2017, Jackson became a WE International Youth Council member. (WE is a charity that transforms lives through sustainable impact). Jackson was a guest speaker for 2017 and 2018. In the Fall of 2018, Jackson became the youngest member of the Independent Youth Group which empowers today’s youth to become tomorrow’s business leaders and entrepreneurial innovators. Jackson was named Vice Chairman of the 2019 KidBox Youth Board of Directors as well as the Chairman of the Dreams for Kids Youth Executive Board and named one of BET's under 15. Jackson was also acknowledged as one of three influential people of 2017 by President Barack Obama and the Obama Foundation.

152130Jahkil and ObamaObama Foundation

As Jackson continues to grow and evolve, so does his vision for Project I Am. He aspires to expand his reach, collaborate with more organizations, and implement sustainable solutions to address homelessness. His extraordinary journey as a young philanthropist is a powerful reminder that no act of kindness is too small, and no voice is too young to make a difference. Through Project I Am, he has brought hope, dignity, and essential support to individuals experiencing homelessness. 

Jahkil’s goal is to distribute 20,000 blessing bags by December 31, 2023. With the help of family, friends, and supporters, he has provided 100,000 blessings throughout the world.

Said Jahkil to MY HERO, when asked for what advice he would give other young people: "Don't Wait To Be Great! Us young people do not have to wait until we are adults to start our own businesses or become change-makers because we can do it RIGHT NOW."

Find out more and how you can get involved at the official website:

Jahkil has been awarded with the Youth Activist Award at the 19th MY HERO International Film Festival. Watch the film HERE.

The MY HERO Winners Ceremony on November 19 2023 opened with the Youth Activist Award which was presented to Jahkil Naeem Jackson a social entrepreneur and founder of Project I Am, a nonprofit organization he created when he was eight years old to build awareness of homelessness. Jahkil is also a 2-time best-selling author. See more HERE: 

Said Wendy, “We are awarding the Youth Activist Award to Jahkil because we are so impressed with his activism as a young person. It’s people like this that really give us hope in the world today.”

Jahkil attended the ceremony, thanked MY HERO for the award, and shared with the participants how he was motivated to volunteer in order to give back to his community and explained how we too can get involved with helping the homeless by visiting his website: Project I AM.

Watch the film HERE.

Page created on 7/14/2023 10:53:16 AM

Last edited 12/5/2023 1:51:39 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Project I Am - Project I Am, a 501c3 organization that was created by Jahkil Naeem Jackson when he was 8 years old. Jahkil, now 15, has a heartfelt desire to help those in need. After helping his aunt distribute food to the unhoused in Chicago, he knew that he wanted to do more to make a difference.