Evansville Christian School Fifth Grader Jimel Johnson, Who Created Blessing Bags for the Homeless, Named Youth Resources’ Youth of the Month
Evansville Christian School fifth grader Jimel Johnson first thought about the issue of homelessness after seeing a video of a man giving out 100 Chipotle burritos to the homeless in Los Angeles.
“After that, I really thought about all the people on the streets that are cold and hungry all the time,” Jimel said. “I continued to see people on the streets everyday, and about a year ago I asked my mom how I could help them.”
Jimel hatched a plan to create Blessing Bags to help homeless people in the community. The bags that he put together contained toiletries, personal care items and food. Jimel’s mother Tonya introduced him to ECHO Community Healthcare employee, Guillermo Guevara, who was able to help Jimel deliver his bags throughout the community to the areas most in need.
In 2019, Evansville recorded 477 people were homeless, while 35 of those were chronically homeless. Chronic homelessness is defined as someone who has experienced homelessness for one year or longer or has experienced four separate occurrences of homelessness over the past three years.
“With Mr. Guevara, I went to several shelters in the area that served the homeless, and was able to deliver my Blessing Bags,” said Jimel.
To further his impact, Jimel also shared his service project with fellow classmates and teachers at Evansville Christian School, so that they might be inspired to help, as well. Jimel invited Mr. Guevara to come and educate his classmates about homelessness. Students learned about the issue of homelessness in the community, and how they could donate their time and talents to the cause.
“Jimel worked with his teachers to create a project that allowed his classmates and their families to be a part of an issue so dear to his heart,” said Evansville Christian School Principal, Susie Masterson, who nominated Jimel for Youth of the Month.
“I’ve noticed that some students – like Jimel – are intuitive and are compelled to act when they see issues. Even if there is not a set plan in place, they find a way to take action,” said Susie. “Jimel is a wonderful collaborator, and is determined to work toward goals he feels are worthy.”
“Seeing my family and others that I know give towards homelessness, creates the motivation for me to do even more,” said Jimel.
“Jimel is an inspiration to what one person can do, and how we can each create momentum to engage others, calling upon each other to make our community a better place for everyone,” said Susie.
Jimel practices karate at East West Karate, where he has earned his black belt, plays basketball at the YMCA, and enjoys serving the community, reading his Bible, sports and drawing.
To nominate a student ages 5-18 for Youth of the Month, click here.