Skyler James – #VoicesofJAF

July 13, 2016 by mitchellcohen
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 16:  Attendees and award winners are seen at the Jefferson Awards Foundation 2016 National Ceremony on June 16, 2016 in Washington City.  (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for Jefferson Awards Foundation)

“This experience has been so humbling for me to see how many amazing people there are out in our country that are serving and helping others. Everyone that I have met has motivated me to do more to honor them.”

Soon after Skyler James was born, she was abandoned in a cemetery wrapped in a thin blanket on a cold night. She was rescued by a volunteer EMT and for hours, a nurse rubbed her feet to keep them warm — battling hypothermia that could require amputation.

Years later, Skyler was able to proudly walk in heels up to the stage to accept the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefitting Local Communities at the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s National Ceremony. Skyler has dedicated her life to preventing baby abandonment and advocating for Safe Haven laws in order to give some of the most vulnerable the chance to grow up in a loving home, and achieve big things, just as she has.

As determined as she is to make a difference, winning a Jefferson Award has inspired Skyler to do even more. Addressing a room full of Jefferson Award winners, she said, “I don’t feel like I did enough being surrounded by all of you. I’m excited to go home and do more because I’m energized to do more because of you.”

Skyler is currently a student at Concordia University in Chicago. She was selected by The Journal Gazette & The Times Courier to represent Illinois at our National Ceremony. To learn more, visit

Donate today to honor more heroes who deserve recognition and inspire more Americans than ever before to engage in public service. 


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