Jahkil Jackson was 8 years old when he launched Project I Am, an organization that helps people experiencing homelessness. Now he’s 15, and his group has handed out more than 100,000 Blessing Bags—containing essentials such as socks and hygiene products—to people in dozens of cities around the globe.
Q: Why is this work important to you?
A: Knowing that there are so many people who need help and also knowing that I can make an impact on young people to have them help their communities—that drives me.
Q: What else do you plan to do with Project I Am?
A: I’m trying to get tiny homes for those in need. Most shelters will kick you out after a certain amount of time, but a tiny house is something permanent.
Q: How can others start making a difference?
A: Find something you’re really passionate about. If you’re inspired by what I’m doing, I don’t want you to feel like you have to focus on homelessness. It’s never going to be fun if it’s something you don’t really like doing.
Q: What would you like other teens to know?
A: Don’t wait to be great is my motto. Young people don’t have to wait until we’re adults to be change agents because we can do it right now.
(This interview was editedand condensed for length and clarity.)