© 2023 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

DeKalb teenager recruits other children to help out in the community

JOY Volunteers

A DeKalb teenager is using his artistry to help make a difference in the community.

Jordyn Jackson’s voice hasn’t quite matured yet, but this 14-year old’s actions are loud and clear. He is the founder of Jackson's Outstanding Youth Volunteers also known as JOY Volunteers. He started this company during the pandemic, but his volunteerism started way before that.

Angela Johnson is Jackson’s mom. She also volunteers for different organizations and said Jackson always tagged along.

“He's given out food before, like volunteer with DeKalb County community gardens with me,” she said. “This is before he started his group. So, it's like he was already out there doing it. And he's just trying to include more kids in the community to do these things.”

So far, he’s recruited about 12 other children to take part in his organization. He said volunteering as a child opens the door to other things.

“It gives them more opportunities,” he suggested. “And introduces them to being, like, more kind and just being a good person.”

Jordyn and his troop help different organizations in DeKalb and the surrounding area.

“We've had several events, like painting rocks for Adventure Works in the counseling center, making cards and bags for Meals on Wheels,” he added. “And we made sensory bottles for the West Side Children's Therapy Center.”

And those are just some of the places they’ve assisted.

Jackson is an artist, and a lot of his volunteer endeavors are centered around that. When the idea to start the volunteer organization surfaced, his first priority was to create the name and logo.

Jackson draws Pokemon characters every day. He showed off the drawing of a girl he calls Anna. She had long flowing hair that complemented her coordinated outfit. She held a Poke Ball in her hand.

“She's like, a fashion model. That's like a Pokemon Gym Leader,” Jackson explained.

But those aren’t his only creations. He won an award during the Geneva Children’s Business Fair.

“And he was selling crayon creations,” Johnson explained. “He had different sets that look like cars, maybe some that look like unicorns. You know, some that, ‘what was the other creations?’” she asked. “Legos, dinosaurs. And so, they, they were all fun sets. And it was very popular.”

Joy Volunteers is not a nonprofit organization so Jackson used the funds he received during the fair to go back into the organization.

Jackson wants to create video games when he gets older. He’s taking coding classes to help prepare for this goal. He said being a volunteer has help build his confidence.

“If it wasn't for volunteering, like, I wouldn't have, like, speaking engagements because I'm very shy,” he said.

He said the best advice he can give young entrepreneurs is for them to find community resources that allow them to make connections.

Jackson is looking to cast his net outside of the DeKalb area.

“I just plan to have like, a bunch of kids that get out there and maybe even do better things than I do,” he said.

JOY Volunteers is open to children in kindergarteners through grade school.

The next volunteer event is Nov. 13 at 3 p.m. for Feed My Starving Children at The Suter Company Inc.

Youth interested in this event and others should visit the volunteer organization’s Facebook page. Volunteer kits can also be picked up from the DeKalb Public Library and Common Grounds Coffee, Tea and Smoothies.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.