Lake City Reporter: Boy Scout earns his wings

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When 13-year-old Jason Harrison decided he wanted to help the local homeless, he put himself in their shoes.

“With the number of hurricanes we had last year and the current pace of tropical storms this year, I felt that there was a need to help the people that were made homeless as a result,” he said.

Harrison imagined what it would be like to be homeless and made a list of survival items they would need. A patrol leader in the Boy Scouts, he adopted the idea as his Eagle project.

After completing 200 care packages for the homeless, Harrison will earn his Eagle rank in Troop 91. The troop is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus through Epiphany Catholic Church.

Harrison was inspired to help the needy after the troop did community service for Catholic Charities.

“This is the second Eagle project we’ve had,” said Suzanne Edwards, Catholic Charities director.

So far, Harrison has assembled 32 care packages and hopes to finish all 200 by November or December. He has been involved in the Boy Scouts since he was 6 years old as a Tiger Cub.

“These young adults are the next generation, and it’s wonderful to see what they are producing already,” Edwards said. “They make great models for adults.”

The “survival kits” include a small sewing kit, socks, latex gloves, and shampoo, among other items.

Attached to the outside of each bag is a wooden heart painted red with the words, “Someone Cares” on one side and Harrison’s initials and “2005” on the other side.

“Everybody should have what they need; no one should be left out,” he said.

Michael Pons, scoutmaster for Troop 91, says he is proud of Harrison’s progress.

“Jason planned and developed his own project as part of earning this rank,” he said. “About one percent of Scouts obtain the Eagle rank. I think the care packages are an excellent choice and the project lives up to our slogan, ‘Do a Good Turn Daily.'”

In addition to volunteering at Catholic Charities two days a week, Harrison is also keeping busy with Boy Scout activities, wrestling, golf, and Algebra.

He estimates that the contents for one package cost $12 to $15.

Since starting the project a month ago, nine businesses and countless individuals have supported his efforts.

More people contribute on a daily basis by dropping change in containers at two local Chevron convenience stores, Cutting Attractions salon and Bath and Body Works.

In addition, drop boxes for care package items are located at Accurate Car Care and Catholic Charities.

Items needed for the packages include toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, Band-Aids, traveling sewing kits, rain ponchos, manual can openers, lip balm, socks, soap, washcloths, waterless hand sanitizer, deodorant, shampoo, tissue packets, combs and latex gloves.

Harrison has received encouragement and guidance from his father, Donnie Harrison, assistant principal of Lake City Middle School; his mother, Lynn; and sister, Stacy.

Catholic Charities welcomes canned items with pop-up tops, take-out utensils, condiment packets, napkins and other donations for its Hands Up Center.

Since the center’s opening in March, homeless individuals have been able to use the center’s mailing address to receive correspondence regarding disability and other benefits they may qualify for. They can also take a shower and do their laundry at the center.

To contact Harrison, please send an e-mail to or call (386) 752-1541.

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:42+00:00 July 19th, 2005|Categories: Blog, News, Samples|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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