Founded in 2010, SeaStar Kids is a Nashville based nonprofit committed to serving disadvantaged youth in Ukraine through Summer Bible Camp, year-round youth activities, and college scholarships. Read below to meet the founder, the board, and our scholars.
Dr. Gary Jerkins is the Founder and President of SeaStar Kids. As an M.D., he also heads the Nashville Vision Center and is associated with Loden iVision Centers in Nashville, Tennessee.
Since 1996 his recurring trips to Ukraine have allowed him to share his faith through medical and humanitarian efforts. On numerous occasions, he has performed life-changing surgery for Ukrainians in need, and mentored native practitioners in the latest surgical techniques. Those long-time associations with the medical community in Western Ukraine have brought credibility to the Lord’s church in that part of the country, and continue to support outreach and humanitarian efforts in that part of the country today.
In 2010 Dr. Jerkins founded SeaStarKids, a 501(c)(3) Nashville-based non-profit organization that offers Ukrainian children the opportunity to attend a Christian summer camp and participate in monthly youth activities. Gary works tirelessly each year to provide the very best Christian camp experience to Ukrainian children, as well as securing and mentoring skilled StarKeepers. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Healing Hands International and the Ukrainian Education Center.
"Dr. J.", as his friends call him, completed his undergraduate work at David Lipscomb University followed by medical school at the University of Tennessee at Memphis. After an internship at Methodist Hospital, Dr. Jerkins completed his residency at the University of Tennessee Department of Ophthalmology in Memphis. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Karen. They are the proud parents of three grown children: an eye surgeon, an actor and a corporate event planner.
Dr. Jerkins considers the practice of medicine not only a wonderful profession but also an art, combining scientific knowledge, clinical skills and Christian compassion. Above all, he is grateful that God has used that profession to lead him to a lifetime of service among the people of Ukraine.
Gary Jerkins, MD—President
Kelly Adams, CPA PC –Treasurer
Marcille Durham —-Secretary
Emily Fowler, CPA
Ron Swang, DDS
· Special thanks to:
Jonn Hutcheson, FaceBook Editor
Brittany Jerkins, Communications Director
· 1.NASTIA LAHMAN, Kiev Medical College, Department of Pharmaceutics. Graduation Date: 2019
· 2. NADIA YERMOLENKO, Kiev College of Light Industry, Department of Design. Graduation Date: 2020
· 3.OLEG YAKIMENKO, Odessa Christian University, Department of Economics. Graduation Date: 2020
· 4. KATIA CHESNEKOVA, Odessa Christian University, Psychology Department. Graduation Date: 2020
· 5. VOVA PHILIPPOWSKI, Odessa Computer Science and Information University, Computer Programming Department. Graduation Date: 2021
Lila was among the first SeaStar Kids. She was later a SeaStar Scholar and is now a practicing Speech Therapist as well as SSK's Assistant Director