Check out our interview with entrepreneur and philanthropist Jahkil Jackson. His charity organization has accomplished the incredible feat of helping over 100,000 unhoused individuals across America on its 7th year anniversary. Jahkil himself was also honored by President Obama for all of his humanitarian efforts with his organization PROJECT I AM.

Follow Jahkil @Jahkiljackson

Hi Jahkil, please tell us a little about you?

I am a normal 15-year-old kid from Chicago. I’m an empathetic and silly teenager who loves to have fun, give back, smile and make change in the world.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Determined, Empathetic and Motivated

Who is your role model?

My parents are my role models.

How did you get started into the business?  

I didn’t start out to create a business, it just kind of happened! In 2016 I hosted my first packing party and a couple of months later we did the paperwork to form an actual business.

Tell us about your non-profit organization Project I Am?

Project I Am builds awareness to homelessness and provides temporary support to those in need.

Why and how did you decided to create your non-profit and what is the feeling of the huge success so far?

At 5 years old I became passionate about helping the unhoused community when my aunt took my cousins and I to pass out chili to people sleeping under a viaduct. I had never seen this before and it made me so sad so over the next 3 years I bugged my parents about getting them homes and since we obviously couldn’t do that, my family helped me figure out what I could do to make an impact. After researching different ways to help and finding out the greatest need, we came up with blessing bags. It feels amazing to be as successful as I have become in this project. I love helping others so it really makes me feel good that I have met so many goals and have impacted so many people across the world.

How people can participate in this?

Just reach out to me to let me know what you would like to do! I am very active on social media, so people can contact me on Instagram (@officialprojectiam and @jahkiljackson). There is also an option to donate on my website and also send a contact form through my website officialprojectiam.com and jahkil.com. We respond to every email within 24 hours.

What mindsets helped making you so successful?

Understanding that my youth is my super power. I definitely have taken advantage of being young!

What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?

To always put myself in other people’s shoes before judging regardless if it’s with the unhoused community or in every day life.

Any advice to entrepreneurs out there?

My advice is to start of small so that you have wiggle room to make any adjustments necessary.

What book should every entrepreneur read?

My latest book! Don’t Wait To Be Great

If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?

I chose Don’t Wait To Be Great for the title of my book because often times young people are told to sit down, be quiet and wait until you are older. I am proof that going all in on your passions can work out now. Youth have thoughts and ideas that can be implemented when we are kids so I wanted to create something to help other youth understand our power.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

I would tell my younger self to block out the noise and create your Imaginary headphones and continuously play a song in your head whenever something negative is being said to you.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

The most rewarded part of my work is when someone has a smile on their face and say “thank you for your work”

What is your favorite healthy food?

Raw Carrots

And your favorite cheat food?

Fried Chicken

How would you explain your fashion style?

I like comfortable drip but I also can pull kill ‘em in a custom suit too when I need to switch it up.

How would your best friend describe you?

Funny, caring and a leader

What’s next for Jahkil Jackson and Project I Am in 2023?

I am an avid basketball player so I have been thinking hard about this. I want to pursue Division 1 basketball so I have to figure out how I am going to balance being focused on both. I think that I have come up with a plan that will allow me to have the same impact by expanding the organization while I work on improving my game. This year I plan to start Project I Am Community Service Clubs in schools across the nation and eventually across the globe. As I have gotten older, I want to make sure that kids younger than me are knowledgeable and excited about serving back and service. When I was younger, I loved the process of making blessing bags, it was like a big game for me and my friends.  I see this same excitement when I go to schools to speak and host packing parties so I figured we can keep that going for younger kids while I focus on some heavier work of trying to get some people off of the streets.

What is your own definition of happiness?

Love, peace and having fun.

How is a normal day in your life?

I start the day with eating waffles, go to school, shadow box with my friends once school ends, do homework and either basketball practice or work-out. If I have an event upcoming, I am working with my GG on the supply inventory.

What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?

Sitting down and doing nothing for the entire day!

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

Malcolm X because so that I can pick his brain on the ideas he learned on his journey. I’d love to go deeper into his strategies to influence the community.

Best advice ever given?

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

Do you support any charity?

I support a lot of my friends across the country who are doing philanthropic efforts

Name 3 things you can’t live without?

Basketball, family and Chic Filet!

Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?

In 5 years, I will be 20 years old. I plan to be in college studying film and playing basketball. I also see myself in the middle of building tiny home communities across the country to assist those in need of permanent housing.

What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?

Snooze by Sza

What music do you like?

Hip Hop & R&B

What do you think of Social-Media?

I think social media has ups and downs. It can be used for helping people and having a good time but it also has a bad side where it can be detrimental to young people’s confidence, comparing themselves to other people they see online.

Where we can follow you?

IG & Twitter @Jahkiljackson

Quote: Don’t Wait To Be Great

Favorite Singer/Artist: My Dad, Narada El Sol

Movie: Black Panther

Travel Destination: LA

Sports Team: Golden State Warriors

Tv Show: Bel Air

Book: My latest book Don’t Wait To Be Great



Photo credit: Charan Ingram @charaningram