What’s Good: 12-year-old business owner sharing profits with South Bend community

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 3:38 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 5:23 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -In today’s What’s Good we catch up with the 12-year-old owner of D.J.’s Sweet Treats, who proves you’re never too young to run a successful business.

16 News Now tells us how she’s using her success to help people experiencing homelessness in South Bend.

D.J. Sumayah from D.J.’s Sweet Treats stayed busier than ever since she first met 16 News Now at the South Bend Farmers Market in November 2020.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a little envious about how much this 12-year-old is making, but those feeling quickly changed to admiration when I learned most of her profits aren’t going to her, but to the Motels4Now program.

Profits from D.J.’s top-selling items throughout February are earmarked to go to the Motels4Now program, roughly $1,200.

“At the farmers market, I pick certain items on my table, and whenever somebody picks one of those items, I have this big glass jar, and I put that into there,” she said.

When staff members at Oaklawn where D.J.’s mother works caught wind of the idea, they didn’t need much more convincing to place more than $500 in orders. D.J. added all of that money to her donation.

“At farmer’s market, I make a lot of profit for my business itself so there was really no need to take out of that--of what can go to people in need,” D.J. said.

She says she’s seen first-hand how her donations will help, having volunteered at tent city with her mom this summer.

“D.J.’s support through her gift really helps us keep doing those things and help supplement those often small things people need to get back on their feet,” said Oaklawn Foundation Executive Director Kari Tarman.

Even with the rapid success, D.J. stays humble.

She knows she’s making a difference in her family and community, so she lets her fans do the talking.

“She went to her mom and said I want to do this. Typically it’s the other way around. We’re normally trying to tell our kids to get a job, or get a paper route, or start cutting grass and she brought it to my sister. She understands the position she’s in,” said her uncle, Jeermal ‘Pop-pop’ Sylvester.

“Some of my co-workers were getting on Facebook and saying ‘Hey, go see this little girl at Farmers Market’ so there was a lot of support,” said her mother Chereese Sylvester.

Making a difference in her community one treat at a time.

Now some people say doing a good deed can make a positive impact on your day.

So knowing the dollars you spend at DJ’s could go toward getting someone warm clothes, funding a place for them to stay, or even getting them a job, make these cake-pops that much sweeter.

You can place an order on the D.J.’s Sweet Treats Facebook page. You can also text or call their number: 574-367-0267.

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