Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Inspiration

Name: N'Jhari Jackson
From: Tampa, FL
Grade: 9
School: The Paideia School of Tampa Bay and Florida Virtual School
Votes: 33


Do you know what inspiration is? Have you ever felt inspired to do
something? Have you ever wondered where the urge to do something good
for someone else comes from? Inspiration snuck-up, wrapped its
weightless arms around me during little-league football. I was told
I would immediately need a surgical procedure. On my way into the
operating room, a nurse gave me a stuffed Clifford to help calm my
fear. I found out my friend was in the same hospital. I went to say
hi, but was quickly turned away. I was told I could only wave
through the glass. I believe this is when that thing called
inspiration crept up and wrapped its arms around me like a left
tackle trying to protect his quarterbacks blindside. I had a sudden
intuition to solve something bigger than me. I needed to ensure my
friend wouldn’t get lonely and would have a buddy close. The
creative neurons in my brain started flickering. I remembered my
fears of separating from my mom on my way into surgery. That’s it, I
thought! I would find a way to get a buddy to every kid who was
without their real buddies. After first using money of my own to get
one for Bryce, I said, “I will figure out a way to get every kid in
there one.” I asked everyone to donate a new stuffed animal.
This project was initially done with one hospital in mind. PJBs have
been delivered to Shriners Hospital, Tampa & Chicago, Arnold
Palmer Children’s, St. Joseph’s Children’s, Tampa, Tampa
General Hospital and Egleston Children’s, Atlanta. PJBs have also
been delivered hospitals in Texas, Macau China, and Koln, Germany.
These special filled PJB backpacks are dubbed “Drab Bags”
because hospitals can be a drab. They are delivered to kids whom
won’t return to school because of an illness. Inspiration and
creativity had collided, the custom logoed backpacks are a hit and
4,000+ Pajama Drab Bags/Pajama Buddies have been delivered. When I
think it won’t make a difference, I remember Bryce!

One day while volunteering along with a couple Scouts at The Joshua
House, a home for abused/abandoned kids, I noticed all the kids had
on white socks. I inquired if there was a rule that kids can only
wear white or black socks. With a surprised look, the person
answered me, “No, it’s just the kids wear whatever is donated and
unfortunately it’s cheaper to buy a pack of all white tube socks
than it is to buy the cooler colorful socks.” After some thought,
was born. My goal was to buy/collect 250 pair of “Cool Socks”
for the Joshua House. I thought it was a good way to bring a little
joy to kids who could use a smile. I placed collection boxes
everywhere I could in my community. Soon over 1300 pairs of
“KoolSox4KoolKids” sat waiting to be delivered. I now know
inspiration can be found even in a box of cool socks.


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