CHICAGO — They are affirmations and words — printed on pillows that come from the mind of a 15-year-old boy.
“I am strong, kind, positive. I am caring — different words that I’ve said to myself,” Jahkil Jackson said.
Jackson first came up with the idea to help housing insecure Chicagoans with what he calls blessing bags years ago when he was only seven years old.
The gift bags were filled with toiletries like soap, socks and other essentials.
His idea to give back to those in the community grew from raising over $400,000 dollars, and now recently handing out his 1,000th blessing bag.
Jackson has also written two books, “I am” and “Don’t Wait to be Great.”
“It means that young people don’t need to wait to be adults to be change agents.” Jackson said, which are the themes of the two pillows and his latest creation.
He is now partnering with Northbrook-based Crate and Barrel to manufacture and sell his affirmation pillows nationwide.
“For these pillows to be on a crate and barrel website is such an honor… It’s like the greatest achievement because I’ve been waiting to get my product in stores,” Jackson said.
Crate and Barrel said they will pledge ten percent of every pillow sold to Jackson’s non-profit ‘Project I Am,’ which helps others and inspires youth.
“I think kids should have an opinion because we will be the leaders in the future so it’s better that we start now learning these things so we’re better off in the future,” Jackson said.
For a 15-year-old, it’s a wide-world view now put onto a symbol of comfort for others to see and feel.