10-year-old social entrepreneur’s ‘Blessing Bags’ raise awareness about homelessness

By Eunice Wang
Medill Reports

Ten-year-old Jahkil Jackson is a young social entrepreneur who founded Project I Am — an organization to help the homeless — two years ago. He brings street comfort to homeless people with what he calls “blessing bags.”

Teaming up with volunteers from different local organizations, Jahkil passed out 5,000 blessing bags by the end of 2017. His compassion for the homeless has won him a 2017 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes and attention from former president Barack Obama on Twitter. He said he is planning to distribute 6,000 blessing bags this year.

As he gets more attention from the public, Jahkil is often invited to give speeches. His mom, Na-Tae’ Thompson, said Jahkil always finishes his speech by saying “My message for kids is that you don’t have to wait until you are an adult to start your own business or be a changemaker, ’cause you can do it now. We don’t have to wait. I am doing it.”

Photo at top: Jahkil Jackson worked with local non-profit Ladies of Virtue to pass out blessing bags and lunch bags at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. Jan. 20, 2018. (Eunice Wang/MEDILL)