CALUMET HEIGHTS — Jahkil Jackson isn't your typical 8-year-old.
While most kids his age are occupied with school, video games and sports, Jahkil likes to focus his attention on the welfare of others.
Two months ago, Jahkil wanted to find a way to help homeless people in Chicago, so he came up with a website where people can donate called "I am Naeem." Naeem is Jahkil's middle name.
He said he wants to help out as many people as he can.
"I feel fortunate to not be homeless," Jahkil said. "This is great because I want other kids to feel like homeless people need help."
Jahkil created "blessing bags," which are usually filled with baby wipes, hand sanitizers, granola bars, toothbrushes and bottled water among other things. Since Feburary, Jahkil and his friends and family have passed out more than 250 bags.
Jahkil attends school in Hyde Park. He is a member of the school's chess club and a traveling basketball team.
Na-Tae' Thompson, Jahkil's mother, said the idea for the blessing bags came from when her son didn't have change to give a homeless person.
"I think it's admirable for someone so young to even think of something like this. To see tears in his eyes when I couldn't give any change, to see the genuine concern, it touched my heart," she said. "I was proud and sad at the same time that we even had to have this as a reality."
Thompson said she makes sure Jahkil stays engaged.
"It is imperative to keep him in so many activities because I want him to grow up having options, being exposed to things, and also I don't want him to have time for b.s.," Thompson said. "Keep him busy so he always has a schedule, as a teen, he will ALWAYS have something to do! "Unfortunately, these kids get in so much trouble because they don't have options, they sit idle."
During his recent spring break, Jahkil donated more than 100 blessing bags to homeless people at the Pacific Garden Mission in the South Loop.
Thompson, the co-founder of Truestar Magazine, said she is proud to know that her son came up with this idea despite his busy schedule. More than 40 people have donated items so far, she said.
"It's been pretty cool to watch and see him involved with the blessing bags," Thompson said. "He is funny because he will say, 'It's not enough in this bag. We have to be fair and make all the bags big.'"
Jahkil said he's going to keep his website going for as long as he can.
"It makes me feel happy because I hate to see homeless people on the street begging for money," Jahkil said. "This is my way of helping."
For more information visit Jahkil's website.
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