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Conversations with Taylor and Jordyn Jackson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Taylor and Jordyn Jackson.

Hi Taylor and Jordyn, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.

Thank you for having us. I’m Jordyn Belle Jackson and at the age of 5 year’s old, my 10-year-old sister, Taylor and I founded our non-profit charity, Soaring Samaritans Youth Movement (SSYM). We began volunteering through traditional routes, but we didn’t see the impact we were making firsthand. We realized, creating our own charity would allow us to make a direct and positive change firsthand. We are passionate about soccer and wanted to share soccer as a positive outlet by hand delivering soccer balls to marginalized children living in foster homes and underfunded communities. We started without any soccer balls, so my sister Taylor had to muster up the courage to call many organizations to secure sponsorships. Over the past seven years, we have navigated through trial and error to grow a small idea of donating soccer balls into a versatile, philanthropic organization now having delivered over 4,500 soccer balls through Mexico, Costa Rica, American Samoa, Panama, and the USA. Our work has evolved into providing children the opportunity to develop an entrepreneurial mindset for social impact through business workshops we created called, BizSense 4 Kids. Additionally, we engage in beading therapy, play sports together, grant scholarships, and continue inventing to create lasting change for children around the world.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?

One of the lessons we have learned is how to be innovative. Over the past seven and a half years of running SSYM, my sister Taylor and I have needed to overcome lack of funding to stay afloat and keep operating. Six years ago, Taylor and I decided to start an affordable, high quality jewelry line called SOAR Jewels to fundraise. Once Taylor and I realized we could not make enough inventory alone, we developed a system to have more jewelry made. We saw that we could unite with other students to help them find empowerment in their own advocacy and creative efforts. We formed a partnership with 14 schools in our local school district. SOAR Jewels became the school district’s first student-owned, “service-learning” business. Working with this many students, various personalities and busy school schedules has been challenging. Navigating the challenges has paid off because students throughout our community have made over 3,000 bracelets, thereby raising $60,000 for SSYM’s humanitarian relief efforts.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?

Recently, my sister and I branched out into a new cause by Hope of the Valley’s Tiny Homes to provide transitional housing and case management services to unhoused individuals in our area. With the help of our community and SOAR Jewels profits, we were able to sponsor a Tiny Home. Each home is 64 sq. ft. in size, has two beds, heating, air-conditioning, windows, a small desk and a locking front door. We believe in helping provide the homeless community with security, onsite meals, showers, case management, mental health, housing, job training and job placement. We researched Hope of the Valley’s housing model extensively and decided this something we needed to get behind. People that support us might not realize how much research goes into the people and organizations that we help. We don’t just hand deliver soccer balls. We take our mentorship responsibilities serious, while having fun being adaptive and are always willing to explore new ideas.

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Image Credits

Denise Jackson

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