Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Hometown Heroes: Jett and Luke Justin

Jett and Luke Justin are 14-year-old twins in Boca (they moved here with their family from Miami, where they were born, at age 2) who graduated from Don Estridge High Tech Middle School and started at American Heritage Palm Beach as ninth-graders a month ago. Both are cadet sergeants in Boca Raton’s Civil Air Patrol Squadron, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force that focuses on aerospace and community service, like volunteering at the Special Olympics airlift.

Their own charity work started in 2016, when they dreamed up the idea for Cereal4all, a nonprofit dedicated to making sure everybody in the community got a good breakfast, and to raise awareness about food insecurity.

What gave them the idea:

LUKE: We got the idea for Cereal4all in 2016 while volunteering at Boca Helping Hands. We were packing pantry bags of food for people who need extra help with daily meals, and we noticed there was always a shortage of breakfast food to put in the bags. … That had a big emotional impact on us as little kids who loved eating cereal for breakfast, and we wanted to do something about it.

JETT: We also realized that even with food drives at our school, people rarely donated breakfast food. So we got permission from our principal to hold the first cereal drive.

How they got the cereal companies to participate:

LUKE: We kept writing letters to cereal companies asking them to donate cereal to the food pantry at Boca Helping Hands. We didn’t hear back from anyone the first two years of writing, but then General Mills surprised us by donating a huge amount of cereal and sending T-shirts over the years that we give out to students who donate.

How they spread it to other schools:

LUKE: Once we told [teachers and principals at other schools] about the breakfast food problem, they were excited to get involved and help make a difference. … We also have great partnerships with organizations like Kindness Matters 365 and the FAU Community Service Club.

JETT: Most students truly love cereal, and they know cereal is about breakfast, but it’s also about happiness. … It lets them understand the happiness and hunger needs of other people in a personal way. That’s why Cereal4all continues to grow and make an impact.

Why it’s important:

LUKE: Like all young people, my brother and I want to accomplish great things in our lives, but we were taught early on that greatness is meaningless without goodness. Cereal4all is our way of doing something good for others.

JETT: Donating a box of cereal might seem like a small thing, but you’re genuinely helping to change somebody else’s life for the better. Maybe that small positive thing you do for a stranger will help them achieve their full potential. One of the most important things young people can do is make a positive difference in someone else’s life.

And the future?

LUKE: I’d like to keep growing Cereal4all to help even more people. My brother and I are always working on ways to expand. I also want to keep volunteering in other ways at Boca Helping Hands and with our Civil Air Patrol Squadron.

JETT: No matter what I’m doing in my life, I’m going to find a way to also be helping others.

This article is from the September/October 2022 issue of Boca magazine. For more like this, click here to subscribe to the magazine.

Marie Speed
Marie Speed
Marie Speed is group editor of all JES publications, including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Worth Avenue, Mizner’s Dream and the annual publication for the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. She also oversees editorial operations of the company’s Salt Lake City magazines. Her community involvement has ranged from work with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce to a longtime board member position at Caridad Center. She is also on the George Snow Scholarship Fund review committee. She is a past officer of the Florida Magazine Association and a member of Class XVII of Leadership Florida. In her spare time, Marie enjoys South Florida’s natural world through hiking and kayaking, and she is an avid reader and an enthusiastic cook.

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