Abby Jenkins - Oregon Nomination by Julie Jenkins Photography by Olivia Renee Photography Issue 58 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Abby Jenkins founded Abby's Hope Project at the age of 14 in 2019, after she became sick with multiple chronic illnesses. Abby's Hope Project is a nonprofit organization that provides support to individuals, children, and families who are affected by health challenges and disabilities. She envisioned this project as a source of hope, strength, and joy for others living with chronic illnesses and to provide both emotional support and connection. Through AHP, Abby provides care packages to children’s hospitals across the US and to those receiving in-home care. Since her project began, Abby has sent over 300 care packages.
Photography by Olivia Renee Photography
What is most rewarding to you from running Abby’s Hope Project? I love when the people I get to support stay in touch with me, even years after they received their care package. I have even had a few recipients give back to my program by donating items to be included in future care packages.
What is your best leadership skill? I think that my best leadership skill is my ability to stay organized. It certainly makes my nonprofit work go smoothly and I can put my energy into the most important aspect of my project which is to provide support to individuals and families facing health challenges.
What is something about having a chronic illness that people may not realize? It's an incredibly isolating experience. I've missed out on so many 'typical teenage experiences' and it is certainly not uncommon for chronically ill people to feel like they are left behind and trying to catch up to their friends and peers
How did you find and why did you choose Olivia Renee Photography as your photographer? My mom found Olivia Renee from an online search and encouraged me to apply to her class of '23 senior photography team. I love how seamlessly easy she makes the photoshoot experience. I had such a great time getting to have her as my photographer!
Photography by Olivia Renee Photography
Tell us about your film you are working on. I am working on a short film titled 'Teenage Complexities'. It is about a girl going through the motions of what being a teenager is like and her own thoughts and beliefs about what she wants her life to look like. I've always loved coming-of-age films and I naturally gravitated towards making one of that genre that also reflects my own experiences growing up.
What has been the hardest part about creating the film? The hardest part of working on my short film has been getting the perfect shots. There is so much work that goes into every scene. I have spent a lot of time on the script, setting up the camera, and then filming until I feel confident in what I have shot.
What do you hope to do with it when it's done? I intend on going to film school and will be including my film project in my college applications.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be? I could spend hours talking about various political and social issues. I have a passion for activism, especially for social justice, feminism, and disability rights. What is the hardest thing you have ever accomplished, and how did you do it?
Image by her mom
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? Make a plan of what you want to accomplish and start working on it! When you put forth your best effort you will see the results of your hard work.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? In 5 years I hope to have just finished undergraduate film school and I plan to start getting more hands-on experience in the film/tv industry and working my way up to become either a director or a cinematographer.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? Before I got sick, I was a gymnast for 10 years and trained competitively. Just recently I started doing gymnastics again recreationally and I've fallen in love with the sport all over again.
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I think that others are inspired by me because I am not letting my chronic illness limit what I do with my life. Anyone can do and create something amazing, regardless of their challenges. Suffering doesn't have to limit who you are as a person or take away from what you choose to make out of your life.
Look for Abby in issue 58 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!