By Katlyn Kurtz

Not every 15-year-old wakes up in the morning and thinks about how he or she is going to impact the surrounding community, but for Jacob Harris and his band of Boredom Busters, it is part of his morning routine.

Six years ago Harris realized it was difficult to get involved because of his age. He had a passion for the homeless, and would not let others get in the way of his desire to volunteer. His mother, Jessica Harris, helped him create Responsible Kidz, a small group of children dedicated to collecting food, essentials and money for the homeless around the Lithia area.

One of Jacob’s favorite memories from the last six years was at the St. Andrews Craft Fair.

“The children are all very competitive in nature,” Jessica said, remembering the $500 they raised in a single afternoon. As the Responsible Kidz have grown into Teenz, they’ve grown in number to about 18, and they have changed their focus.

“About a year and a half ago I was in the hospital,” Jacob said. “It was really boring except for the times my friends came. It gave me the idea to start Boredom Busters.”

Jacob and his friends wanted to spend time in hospitals with children that had long stays there in order to help them pass the time, but because of their age, the hospitals could not allow them to volunteer.

“It was disappointing, but Jacob wasn’t going to let that stop him,” Jessica said. Instead, the Boredom Busters will be creating a mentorship program between the Teenz and orphan and foster children in the community.

On Saturday, August 8, the group will host their first event as the Boredom Busters. It will be a day filled with carnival events meant to encourage the interaction between the Teenz and children at the Baptist Children’s Orphanage in Lakeland. They are collecting items to help the orphanage and foster families, and are in need of donations from the community. They specifically need personal supplies, including soap, feminine products and shaving cream, but household cleaning supplies and first aid supplies are also needed. Additionally, they are hoping to serve lunch for the children, and would like monetary donations in order to purchase a catered meal.

Individuals interested in helping can call Jessica Harris at 220-6017. The Boredom Busters would be glad to pick up any donations from a home or business.

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