"There are a lot of kids and teens who are doing great things and want to
change the world."
Jordan Coleman, 13, of Hackensack, New Jersey, U.S., used the money he earned as an actor to make a film about the importance of education for African-American boys.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Jordan: My name is Jordan Coleman. I am the voice of Tyrone the Moose on the Nickelodeon Cartoon THE BACKYARDIGANS. My mom challenged me to use some of my earnings to make positive contribution to my community. I hired a film crew and made a docu-drama about the importance of education for African-American boys. Last year, AMC Theaters picked up my film for its Summer MovieCamp and now, I travel around the country to spread my "school is cool" message.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Jordan: Say It Loud Film
Tell us about the project, especially who benefits from this work.
Jordan: My film project benefits kids because I was able to get some of their favorite celebrities, like Kobe Bryant, Ludacris and Master P to be in my film. Whenever I screen my film, students tell me that they are inspired to do better in school.
What inspired you to get involved?
Jordan: Everyone in my family is involved in community service. Since I was a toddler, my mom had me stuffing goody bags and working on her many community service programs. I helped collect toys for kids whose parents were in jail, collected books for schools that did not have libraries and collected clothes for Hurricane Katrina victims. My grandparents are also people who help the community. Getting involved and helping people has always been part of my life.
How did you first get involved? Through school? Your parents?
Jordan: Yes, my mom challenged me to use some of my money from my voice over job to help others and I came up with the idea to make a film that focuses on the importance of education for African-American boys because less than 50% of African-American boys graduate from high school. That was scary to me and I wanted to do something to help.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Jordan: The best thing about my experience is going out and inspiring other kids by telling my story.
What is/was the hardest part?
Jordan: The hardest part of my experience was editing the film because it took a long time and a lot of patience. Sometimes it's hard to get people to be quiet at the beginning of the film because they think it's going to be boring, but when they see their favorite stars on the screen they listen.
What was the biggest surprise?
Jordan: The biggest surprise for me was meeting Kobe Bryant. I still can't believe I met him and spent time interviewing him. Kobe was the coolest. He is also very smart. He speaks several languages and he could have gone to any college he wanted to. Most of the men who I interviewed said their parents and grandparents made a difference in their life because they were not allowed to hang in the street with the kids who were getting in trouble. I was also surprised that so many people are interested in showing my film.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Jordan: I learned that there are a lot of kids and teens who are doing great things and want to change the world.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Jordan: I think you should do it. Also, if things don't go right in the beginning keep trying because small projects can grow into big project. My film project is proof.
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