N’Jhari Jackson has been inspired by Ben Carson’s words: “We don’t get joy from what we get, but it’s from what we give”. That has motivated and inspired him to do more for the community, he says to 10News in Tampa Bay.
N’Jhari is currently in eight grade in The Paideia School of Tampa Bay. He has managed to collect and deliver over 4000 stuffed animals and backpacks with goodies to hospitals in three states and two foreign countries. He hopes that this way he can ease the fear in kids in hospitals and bring them a little comfort.
Jackson knows this first hand. “On my way into the operating room, a nice nurse handed me a stuffed Clifford to hold onto to help calm my fear,” he said. “It worked and everything went well!”
“When I was in the hospital I was given gifts to help me get through that experience and I know that I’m not the only kid who goes through that,” he said. “I want to just let them know that there’s hope. You’re going to be OK and even though it seems really scary nothing stays scary for long.”
His friend Bryce was also in the hospital but visits weren’t allowed. So Jackson gave his toy to his friend and this is what started his big initiative that goes on to this day. Just last week he dropped off more than 100 goodie bags to the Shriners Hospital in Tampa. The goodies are all donated by people from the community and are sorted by age groups. Usually they have books, coloring materials, toys, stuffed animals. He has also sent bags all the way to Germany and China.
“To us it may not seem like that big of a deal,” Jackson says. “It’s just coloring books but when you’re going through what these kids have been going through a little, mini Nerf football can make their whole month.”
Unsurprisingly his good deeds haven’t gone unnoticed. He has won the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Award which is given each year to young people who excel in volunteer work. He has also been to Washington D.C. to meet the governor and has earned a full-ride scholarship to any university or college in the state of Florida.
Despite all of this, Jackson is continuing is community work. He is still accepting donations and is available to be contacted at njthestar <at> gmail. com (write it with no spaces and with an @ instead of <at>, this is done to minimize the risk of him receiving spam messages).