BILLINGS – Seven-year-old Jacob Studer isn’t just an entrepreneur; he’s also a philanthropist.
“I started my own business,” Jacob said. “Too young for it? Doesn’t matter.”
Jacob, a second grade student at Elder Grove School, raised $121.50 for Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch by selling artwork and raking his grandpa’s yard.
“I said $1 per pile of leaves, and I did five piles of leaves,” he said. “He made me do some other chores that got me $5.”
His grandma and aunt also made donations. The money went to Elder Grove students enrolled in YBGR’s Comprehensive School and Community Treatment program, a division of YBGR’s Community Based Services in Billings.
[EasyDNNGallery|3127|Width|350|Height|350|position|left|resizecrop|False|lightbox|False|title|False|description|True|redirection|False|LinkText||]“We plan on taking a group of clients to the Festival of Trees, and we’ll use the rest of the money for art supplies and snacks for our kids,” said Lauren Poss, the YBGR behavior specialist at Elder Grove. “We are so thankful for Jacob’s compassion for the youth of our program.”
Jacob modestly described his efforts as a way to “help some kids that need it.” He added, “I just think it’s a good cause.”
Some friends recommended he spend his earnings on toys. But Jacob isn’t one to be swayed easily.
“He loved the idea of helping kids,” his dad, Luke Studer, said.
[EasyDNNGallery|3126|Width|400|Height|400|position|left|resizecrop|False|lightbox|False|title|False|description|False|redirection|False|LinkText||]One of Jacob’s classmates lives on the YBGR campus, as his father works at the ranch. Jacob told him about his fundraiser.
“(He) was amazed because it went right to his neighborhood,” Jacob said.
Now that Jacob has donated to YBGR, he is onto his next campaign, Billings Best Hiking Sticks.
“He has his business plan,” said his mom, Anna Studer. “He hasn’t decided who to give it to.”
Jacob has made 14 hand-decorated walking sticks. For “grownups”, the walking sticks sell for $7 apiece. Youth can purchase them for $5 each.
His five-year-old sister, Delaney, is involved, too.
“I just hired her to hold up a sign that just said what my business was about,” he said.
His parents and grandpa help with the business, as well, but he’s keeping his costs low.
“I think they’re just being volunteers,” Jacob said.
“(There is) no family discount here,” his dad said. “He tells us we don’t get these for free.”
Jacob sells the sticks every Friday afternoon in his driveway.
“I know how to be a salesman,” he said.
Jacob’s charity-minded work didn’t just begin this year. In preschool, he donated money from his piggy bank to the Montana Rescue Mission.
“He’s always had a big heart for giving,” his dad said. “(We’re) just so proud. It’s all driven by him. He really does most of this on his own.”
Meanwhile, the Studer parents continue to talk with their children about helping those in need.
“We encourage it,” his dad said. “Whenever we can give, we give.”
Source: YBGR is a nonprofit organization trusted locally and nationally as a leader in the field of mental health care for children and their families. YBGR staff impact approximately 650 youth each day through the psychiatric residential treatment facility in Billings and Community Based Services throughout Montana.