A Nine-Year-Old Author Who’s “Not Your Average Joe”

For those of us who are a bit skeptical about the new generation’s contribution to society, young Jared Jenkins will restore your faith in today’s youth. Not only did Jared author a book at the ripe old age of 9, but also through his own initiative, he decided to donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. This is truly inspiring!

Not Your Average Joe is the title of the book, but it goes without saying that it is also indicative of its author. In hearing about his endeavor, I knew I had to meet Jared in person. Now almost twelve years old, Jared is the youngest son to Steve and Eunice Jenkins. Along with older brothers, Johnny (16) and Joey (14), the three boys are homeschooled and all are avid sports players. Jared plays on the traveling baseball team, the Gulfstream Dream, and hopes one day to play with the Houston Astros. He also enjoys basketball, hunting and fishing. Though this may seem typical of boys his age, there were a few qualities that intrigued me: his humbleness and empathy for others. I will explain more later. But now…

 

About the book

How does a 9-year-old boy set out to write a book? By sheer boredom! When finishing his homeschool writing assignments early, he looked for something creative to do. His brother Joey suggested he start a journal.  Stumped with the task of writing about something other than Angel, the family’s blond Labrador, Joey suggested Jared use a porcupine for the main character. And, while he’s at it, why not call him Joe? And so, with ‘quill’ in hand, Jared started the journey of a bored porcupine named Joe, who finds himself on an adventure that leads to the White House. Amazingly, this and the three books to follow, took Jared less than two weeks to write. Though funny and enjoyable to read, the book is not just about living a life of adventure. It also portrays the joy of being accepted into a family, something that seems to strike a chord in Jared’s heart.

 

Giving back

As their home church, Calvary Chapel Boca Raton, often states, “You are now entering the mission field” when leaving the church grounds, the Jenkins took this to heart. While Spring Break usually meant traveling for a family vacation, the Jenkins decided one year to take part in a local missions trip. Epic Missions in Vero Beach provided a variety of outreach opportunities. I asked Jared which of them was his favorite. Not surprising, he enjoyed playing basketball and volleyball with the orphans from Hibiscus House. What was striking, though, was the impact these kids had on him.

This young boy, through his own compassion for those without a family, decided to donate a portion of his book proceeds to 4KIDS of South Florida, a local nonprofit dedicated to finding every child a home. Michelle Enders, of 4KIDS, was beyond surprised when the then 11-year-old boy walked in with $60 of his own money to donate to the charity. It was a tithe from his book. Again, Jared is not your average Joe.

His mom, Eunice, sees just how God’s hand has been in all of this.  As she declared, “When God puts something on your heart to accomplish, He’s not going to let you down.” When Jared was reluctant to speak of his achievements for fear of boasting, Eunice reminded him that God is being glorified through these works and it is bringing awareness to 4KIDS and the modern day orphan. We see this tapestry being woven even in his book. Through Joe we see an unlikely hero and how each one of us can make a difference. Perhaps even more profound is how the main character, a porcupine — who is not thought of as cuddly or loveable — in the end is loved by a family, like each child deserves. Jared hopes his book will give hope to all of God’s children.

If you would like to help with this vision, or even to give as a wonderful gift, the book Not Your Average Joe can be purchased at Amazon.com.  Stay tuned for the other adventures of Joe the porcupine in upcoming books.  If you are interested in hosting a book signing, please contact Eunice at eunicejenkins@bellsouth.net.

 

Chris Alexander is a freelance writer and an aspiring humble servant of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  To see upcoming events or to purchase her ‘GuitArt’ (art on salvaged guitars) go to www.MusicArtLove.com .

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