On the Record with Jordyn Jackson

DeKALB – When Jordyn Jackson grows up, he wants to be a video game designer.

But instead of staying indoors all day playing video games, Jackson is out and about in the community, getting involved and making a difference.

Jackson started volunteering in the community when he was 6 years old. Now 14, Jackson volunteers with more than 30 organizations, including Trash Squirrels and DeKalb County Community Gardens. Jackson is a homeschooled eighth-grader.

Jackson started JOY - Jackson’s Outstanding Young Volunteers, a group that organizes volunteering events and inspires children to get involved in the community.

Jackson has already inspired 12 other children to join JOY Volunteers. To get the word out about the group, he had his own booth at the DeKalb Public Library’s Volunteer Fair on March 26.

He also was a guest speaker at a Youth Engaged in Philanthropy meeting. YEP is a youth-led committee of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. Jackson told the other teens about JOY Volunteers and gave advice about volunteer opportunities in the community.

Angela Johnson, Jackson’s mom, said she is proud of her son for his love of volunteering.

“For other kids, it’s hard to get them to volunteer,” Johnson said. “But he loves helping others. He’s a young community leader, but that doesn’t stop him from being a kid. He’s very creative and likes to spend his time playing video games, but not all of his time. He also loves to draw and draws every day.”

Johnson said other parents and adults in the community have noticed her son’s volunteerism.

“So many people have told us of his impact and how he’s making a change,” Johnson said. “I’m just happy he likes to help others and give back and isn’t a selfish person. I’m proud he has that kind of heart.”

Jackson spoke with MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton about JOY Volunteers and why volunteering in the community is important.

Milton: Why did you start JOY Volunteers?

Jackson: JOY Volunteers is a group I started to get younger kids involved with volunteering. It’s for kids ages kindergarten through middle school. I wanted to get young kids involved to inspire them.

Milton: Why is volunteering important for kids?

Jackson: I think there are not as many opportunities for kids to volunteer. It’s more difficult for them to be involved. I want kids to be involved, too, and for all kids to make a difference. I think things wouldn’t get done without volunteers. There needs to be volunteers to help with stuff, make an impact, and help people out. I like when people tell me about the impact I’ve made and how it’s inspired them.

Milton: When did you get involved in volunteering?

Jackson: I started volunteering at the age of 6. At a young age, I saw my mom and my sister volunteering, and they often brought me along. They inspired me to volunteer. I volunteer with Trash Squirrels and [DeKalb County Community Gardens] and over 30 organizations in the community.

Milton: What volunteering events would you like JOY Volunteers to get involved with?

Jackson: I hope we can paint rocks to leave around town, make cards, pick up garbage. I still haven’t decided all of the activities we’ll do yet, but I will soon. Right now, we have about 12 members. I started the group about a year ago, but because of COVID, it was difficult to have events.

Milton: Did you participate in any local events?

Jackson: I went to the volunteer fair, and I had a table there. It was fun getting to talk about my volunteer group and giving out information. I went to talk to YEP students, I was a guest speaker and told them about my organization.

Milton: Do you have any other projects in the works?

Jackson: I made my own book about volunteering, and it’s going to be coming out soon. It’s already finished, and I drew all the images myself. We just have to decide on the publisher. I would like to see more kids involved in volunteering. I hope that JOY Volunteers helps with that.

To find out more about JOY Volunteers and upcoming events, find the group on Facebook.

Katrina Milton

Katrina J.E. Milton

Award-winning reporter and photographer for Shaw Media publications, including The Daily Chronicle and The MidWeek newspapers in DeKalb County, Illinois, since 2012.