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Jahkil Naeem Jackson | Chicago | Community Needs! My journey started at the age of 5, my first time seeing people sleeping outside in the cold on the streets. I was with my aunt who would normally go feed the homeless. She took my cousins and I to demonstrate to us how blessed we are and the importance of caring about other people. Having sympathy. This inspired me to want to do more to try to help them. I didn't know how but I knew I had to figure it out. I knew that I wanted to do more to make a difference. It quickly became my mission to build awareness of homelessness and to help the homeless population by offering them what I called “Blessing Bags,” a giveaway filled with wipes, socks, deodorant, hand sanitizer, granola bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, bottled water, and more. Gratefully, I set and surpassed many goals in my young life. Distributing the Blessing Bags to the homeless has been one of my biggest achievements thus far. In just a few years, my efforts have touched over 35,000 men, women and children across the world. Along with the help of friends and family, I organized distribution to those in need in Chicago, Los Angeles, Oklahoma, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Virginia and Idaho. I have also provided Blessing Bags to orphans in Mbabane, Swaziland, as well as volcano victims in Guatemala, and hurricane survivors in Florida, Houston, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. I am motivational speaker on a mission to influence kids around the country to get involved in their communities. I plan 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 my goal, I am asking the public for supplies and monetary donations.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

The biggest initial hurdle was, funding to purchase supplies for the blessing bags. The solution was to begin seeking sponsors and donations to pay for the items needed for the bags. This is still an everyday struggle so please understand that I don't have it 100% figured out yet!

What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?

I love the Diary of the Wimpy Kid series but I also recommend "THE MAKING OF A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR" :

A Kid's Guide To Developing The Mind-Set For Success

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

My family has been very supportive of everything that I have done so far. It can get tiring for them because of how hectic my schedule has turned out to be. With folks at school, some of them treat me differently (mean) and some of them treat me normal, like I'm just Jahkil and that is what I like. I wouldn't do anything differently because it is not my fault that kids want to bully me for being successful, I just hope they can learn not be jealous because I like working with other kids!

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

The most influential factor in my business success is being recognized by former President Obama.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

The thing I wish I knew when I first started is how busy I would be! I have had to really learn how to balance my hectic schedule.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?

I would say, look in your community and see what needs work. I would also say think about something that you are passionate about. Also to start small then build up from there.

Reach Out!

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