Named after Jedediah Smith, the first man to cross into California from the east, Jedidiah Jenkins was born an explorer. He was also born to change the world. As the Director of Idea Development and Ideology at Invisible Children (IC), it is his job to articulate the ethos behind what IC does. They work to end the use of child soldiers to rebuild areas that have been destroyed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). It’s about global responsibility. In addition to using his passions to change the lives of innocent children, Jedidiah also spends his time changing the lives of young adults. Working with IC’s interns, he’s able to witness these individuals finding their identity and becoming who they’re meant to be. Watching someone come alive is truly the ultimate reward.
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Interested, goofy, mobile.
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
My mom. She raised me mostly as a single mom, sacrificed so many of her dreams for her kids, but at the same time didn't lose who she was. She is an artist, a writer, an adventurer, a friend and hilarious. But also gentle and adaptable. I am who I am in great part because of who she is.
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
I want to be a part of writing the future. Whether that's through my work with Invisible Children and ending injustice against children or writing books and stories that make people feel understood and pushed. When someone responds to my writing, I feel most accomplished.
What are you most proud of?
Playing my part in weakening the rebel group the LRA in Central Africa. They have been abducting children for over two decades in Uganda, the DRC and Central African Republic. They are weaker than ever in large part because of the work of the collection of supporters and individuals at Invisible Children. We haven't completed the work, and I don't know if we ever will truly complete it, but the journey has been foundationally rewarding.
What do you find most sexy about a girl?
Worthiness. When a girl has a strong sense of self-knowledge and self-worth, she doesn't pretend to be someone she's not. She contributes at all times out of abundance, instead of trying to fill a lack in herself by pretending to be what she thinks people want. When you meet a girl who knows who she is, even the simplest, smallest part of who she is, it radiates.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Living in a wooden house writing essays and books and screenplays. Probably smoking a cigarette, my only one that day, and drinking cold coffee and glancing down at my husky, napping at my feet.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
Publish a book that changes people's lives.
Who has been the biggest male influence in your life and why?
My father. He has always been a writer/adventurer and never to my knowledge had a conventional job for more than a few months. He has created his own path through sheer will and good ideas. In that vein, he never tried to turn me into a son that I was not. Whatever made me come alive, whatever I loved, he loved that I loved and encouraged it. He gave me wings and said 'I don't care where you fly, just go there and come back with something beautiful.Ã¢Â�Â�
What is the biggest risk youÃ¢Â�Â�ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
I'm not one to take risks, in the sense that I always tend to do what seems right at the time and almost never experience regret. I only experience lessons. Maybe the biggest risk I ever took was choosing to move to Los Angeles at 19 without ever having been to California or even west of Arizona. I just knew that my dreams might live in Southern California and I needed to find out. It was the best decision of my life.
What is one stereotype about men that isnÃ¢Â�Â�t really true?
That they are solitary and unemotional. The truth is that they are just guarded and often playing a part they were taught to play. But once they feel trusted and trust you, they show an entire encyclopedia of insecurity and tender loves and hopes. These things just usually stay hidden because they are perceived as weak.
*Interview conducted and compiled by Lauren Rhew*