Jacob Jenkins was born and raised in East St. Louis, IL. He is one of eleven children and was the first in his family to graduate from college. He holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees in U.S. History with a concentration in 20th Century African American Culture and Life from Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville.
For the past 7 years, he worked at the Illinois Department of Human Services as a Human Services Caseworker, providing benefits and support to Macon County families. He’s been a resident of Decatur for over a decade. During this time in the community, Jacob has been an avid Community Service Leader.
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He has organized and coordinated a myriad of events within the last 10 years e.g. setting up extreme weather community warming shelters in Decatur, IL, massive water donation drive for Flint, MI as part of the multi-state #decaturwaterchallenge. The drive collected and delivered over 9 semi-trucks of fresh water and supplies to the desolate people of the community. Another community event, Jacob partnered with the Decatur Boys and Girls as part of Project Healthy Start, to establish and launch a feeding program for low-income families.
The Haiti Soles4Souls project as part of Full Gospel Baptist Church International Convention was Jacob's first international event which garnered over 50,000 pairs of shoes that were donated to women of Haiti to respectively start their own businesses.
Jacob has always led community service efforts that help those in need during critical times. Jacob also gives outside of the community. He proactively assisted an organization to collect supplies and bring awareness to young girls who have contemplated suicide or dropping out of school. This event was near and dear to Jacob because he is a life learner and has been an advocate for mental health.
For this event, he was instrumental in providing school supplies and care kits for a new all-girls school on the First Nation Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. While preparing for the trip, he was made aware of another need on a different Reservation. He was able to coordinate supplies for a Pre-K student on the reservation whose building had burned on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. As you can see from his many commitments, Jacob has demonstrated a strong commitment and desire to put together a network of partners to address the needs of the hurting communities.
In his spare time, he enjoys singing, writing music, and all things creative. He's a travel enthusiast, he enjoys meeting new people and learning about their cultures. As the Volunteer Program Coordinator III, Jacob looks forward to bringing this same love for volunteerism and passion for the spirit of service to the Serve Illinois Commission.