• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Investing in the future through children

This month's Jefferson Award winner is Wini Jackson, an advocate for children who works around the clock.

Jefferson Award winner Wini Jackson
January 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The Jefferson Awards honor those extraordinary people in our community who volunteer and tirelessly donate their time to help others. This month's winner is Wini Jackson, an advocate who works around the clock for children.

"When Wini says 'I'm going to do it,' it's a challenge. She gets it done and if you say 'I don't think you can do that, Wini,' she can," said Maria Schmidt, Variety International ambassador.

Wini Jackson has one philosophy: Anything for the kids.

"My thing is I want to invest into them because I want them to invest into others," said Jackson.

"She's inspired me to give back because there's a kid who might be in the same position as me and like he might like not be able to do some of the things like if somebody is not there to help support him," said student Morgan Means.

From buying books for afterschool programs to exposing children to the arts, Jackson makes it happen.

"Don't take no for an answer, " said Germaine Jackson DeCree, principal of Fernando Pullum Performing Arts. "One door may close but a lot more may open if you stay persistent. And that's a life-long lesson that Wini continues to remind me."

She has even coordinated international trips for the Fernando Pullum Performing Arts High School jazz band. At Christmas, she hosted a Christmas party for underprivileged children in the community. During heavy rains, Jackson worked with Variety Children's Charity to buy coats and shoes for 1,000 children in need. There is no limit to what she'll do for the kids.

"Even though we are in the foster care system there are many opportunities presented and I guess she's one of the figures in my life who influences what I do today, which is why I am in school majoring in social work to give back," said Precious Painting, who was mentored by Jackson.

"She's that loving mother that they really don't have, so everybody has to give her a hug when they see her," said Quoquese Gray, activities coordinator at Eggleston Youth Center.

She reminds us all that our futures start with the children.