July 16, 2018

After a week on a tour bus, the Project Kares kids still motivated to share their message of inspiration

Youth leaders Khloe Thompson and Jahkil Jackson round out the East Coast leg of their nationwide tour in New York and D.C., before heading to Chicago

The Project Kares duo Jahkil Jackson and Khloe Thompson packed blessing bags for D.C.’s Covenant House, which provides shelter, food, and services for homeless young people.

Editor’s note: The Renewal Project is following two young change-makers who founded nonprofits that help those who struggle with homelessness. Eleven-year-old Khloe Thompson, founder of Khloe Kares; and 10-year-old Jahkil Jackson, founder of Project I Am, teamed up to form the Project Kares: Coast-to-Coast tour. Jahkil and Khloe are on a journey across the U.S. to provide homeless shelters with care packages and to teach leadership workshops to kids.

They kicked off the tour on July 7 in Los Angeles, where they joined volunteers and packed 120 bags for homeless individuals that were filled with necessities like shampoo and soap. They also made stops in Las Vegas and Atlanta. These two journal entries highlight the rest of their East Coast adventures—in New York City and Washington, D.C. They end their tour in Chicago. Follow along on Twitter at @TheRenewalProj and on our Facebook page.

NEW YORK—So far the Project Kares tour has been so much fun. We’ve traveled from California to Nevada to Georgia and now New York. Being able to see all of these states and make new friends has been pretty cool, but it has also been a lot of hours on the bus.

We drove about 25 hours just to get to New York. New York City is one of my favorite places. I love the lights, the buildings, the shopping, and of course Broadway! In New York we had a press day, which means we got to sit down with a bunch of media people and talk about what we are doing, which is always fun. We walked around Times Square and went shopping in SoHo. The stores in New York always have different things that we don’t always see back home. Their Nike store is huge!

One other thing you have to do in New York is find a good pizza spot—thin crust pizza that is nice and greasy. We closed out our first night in New York by taking a walk in Bryant Park, which is near Times Square. It’s pretty cool to see how many people like being there just to sit on the grass and relax.

Khloe and Jahkil met up with actress Donshea Hopkins, center, in New York City.

The next day we held a leadership workshop at the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. We set up and got right to it. We kicked off our program with a Q&A with me, Jahkil, and the actress Donshea Hopkins, who appears on the TV show Power. Then we began the business planning program for the youth leaders in attendance. We gave out worksheets for the kids to follow along with and fill in the blanks. We used colorful markers that were provided by Yoobi. Once they were done with the worksheets, we broke everyone up into groups so they could start working on their business ideas. We gave them about 25 minutes to come up with an idea then present it. After the business planning workshop, we stuffed blessing bags.

We also gave out swag bags that were provided by DTLR to the participants. Each bag had a TrueStar magazine, a tattoo of the Project Kares logo, and some other goodies provided by our sponsors.

The kids at the Boys and Girls Club came up with such great ideas. We hope our workshop helped them understand what it takes to start a business.

Now we’re bound for Washington, D.C.!

Jahkil and Khloe closed out the East Coast leg of their tour in the nation's capital.

WASHINGTON—Living on a bus for a whole week is not easy. The bus ride is bumpy, you eat pretty badly, and it can be crammed at times. But it’s also a fun adventure.

After New York we made our way to D.C. We went to bed really late because we had to empty the water sewage from the bus. Totally yuck! Once that was done we went to bed because we had an early radio interview with DTLR. They are one of our sponsors for the tour. We got to the DTLR office at 6 a.m. We had to wake up at 5 a.m., which was way too early for us. When we arrived, we went on a tour of the facility—their warehouse and the radio station.

The hallway leading to the radio station is made up of tile that you can write on and there were all kinds of celebrities and music stars who signed the wall. Jahkil and I got to sign our names too!

Our interview went great—we even sung them the song we made up about chicken nuggets. We took a bunch of pictures and then headed out to our next destination the Covenant House, which provides shelter, food, and services to homeless and runaway youth. They have locations all over the United States. Their shelter was not like the Nicholas House that we visited in Atlanta. It was more like a building that they turned it into a living facility, whereas the Nicholas House was an actual really big house. At the Covenant House, the young adults who live there go to class and get job training. We toured the facility where they provide early childhood education for the babies. We passed out swag bags again and then we left the blessing bags that we packed in the Bronx.

D.C. was special because we got to visit the Washington Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and we also walked around the National Mall. It was nice to just walk around D.C. to see all the historical stuff that I learn about in school.

Now we’re heading to the last stop on our tour—Chicago!

Khloe Thompson and Jahkil Naeem Jackson

Khloe Thompson started her nonprofit Khloe Kares to help homeless individuals in her Long Beach, California, community.

Jahkil Naeem Jackson is the founder of Project I Am, a Chicago-based nonprofit that helps homeless individuals.