My Jekyll: Kendall Barfield

My Jekyll: Kendall Barfield

Photograph by ALLISON LEOTIS

“I love animals. They don’t judge you, and they are easy to talk to. I also like science and the ocean, and I’m interested in sea creatures. The sea turtle center at Jekyll is really neat. I got to meet my adopted turtle, Bandit, and see her getting weighed and checked and watch her swim around in her tank. Then, I went on a tour of the turtle center. I can’t wait to tell my friends about Bandit.” — KENDALL BARFIELD

Kendall Barfield is a 12-year-old from Columbus, Georgia. In November 2022, her parents visited Jekyll Island’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where they learned about the turtle adoption program and an extraordinary resident named Bandit, a juvenile green sea turtle partially paralyzed in a boat-strike injury. Kendall’s parents adopted Bandit and presented their daughter, who has spina bifida, with an adoption certificate at Christmas. Adoptions at the GSTC are strictly symbolic (the turtles don’t leave the center until they’re ready to return to the ocean), but Kendall felt an instant connection with Bandit. Earlier this year, they finally met when the Jekyll Island Authority invited the Barfield family to visit. The encounter, says Kendall’s mom, serves as a reminder to focus on possibilities, not limitations.

This article first appeared in Volume 7 Number 1 of 31•81, the Magazine of Jekyll Island.

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