Making Her Own Way

Calli Schill, 11, was all smiles while doing yard work. (Photo: County 17/Brooke Byelich)
Calli Schill, 11, was all smiles while doing yard work. (Photo: County 17/Brooke Byelich)

At age 11, Calli Schill is already discovering an important lesson: if she makes her own money, she gets to spend it any way she’d like. Already, the sixth grader has bought her own phone, and is now saving for a tie-dye hoodie, and a giant-size Twix candy bar.

First, however, she needs to earn it, which is why she was cleaning up Kierra Bulkley’s front yard Wednesday afternoon after school.

Bulkley answered Calli’s ad for odd jobs on the Gillette Area Classifieds Facebook page, and so far from what’s she’s seen of the young teen’s work, Bulkley is planning on hiring her again down the road.

This is her second job since entering the workforce, Calli explained, as she swept leaves and other debris into a bucket. Her first job entailed filling a 55-gallon barrel with dog poop, which didn’t deter the young entrepreneur. So far, she’s made $125.

Calli’s dad Fennis was also there giving his daughter a helping hand as the two worked vigorously in the brisk wind to finish up before dinner.

Kierra Bulkley (right) hired Callie to clean up her front yard and dad Fennis helped her get the job done Wednesday.
Kierra Bulkley (right) hired 11-year-old Callie Schill to clean up her front yard, and dad Fennis helped her get the job done. (Photo: County 17/Brooke Byelich)

Fennis and his wife Jo told their daughter that if she expected new phones, clothes, shoes, and other luxuries, she would need to work to earn her own money. Neither of their parents had given them anything, they explained, and it was important for their daughter to understand the value of money and hard work.

“We didn’t grow up with much, and every penny our parents worked hard for had to go to bills,” Jo said, “so if we wanted to go skating with friends or bowling, or get pegs to make our bicycles cool, we had to plan ahead and find jobs to do around the neighborhood.”

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The only caveat was doing jobs for the elderly. In that case, Jo and her siblings were permitted to work for cookies only.

Calli Good, 11, shovels up dead grass and other remnants in a yard. (Photo: County 17/Brooke Byelich)
Calli shovels up dead grass and other remnants in a yard. (Photo: County 17/Brooke Byelich)

Jo appreciated her parents instilling in her a ‘good, honest and hard-work ethic,’ which she and her husband are passing on to their kids.

Calli doesn’t mind the hard work, she said, and just like her parents, was enjoying her first taste of financial freedom.

“It felt good to buy something with my own money,” Calli said with a grin. “And since I’m earning it, I get to spend it on whatever I want.”

After getting her nails done and buying the hoodie and treat, she plans to buckle down and really start saving. She wants to go to a ‘big city for college,’ she said, explaining her plan to attend New York University in New York City.

Fennis frowned. He was hoping his daughter would go to Oklahoma State University. Both he and Jo grew up on the Oklahoma border, though there’s a staunch rivalry between OSU and University of Oklahoma.

“It’s a divided household,” Jo said.

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Where their daughter came up with New York University is anyone’s guess, she said, but regardless, Calli’s planning to open her first savings account while lining up more jobs.

“I’m very proud of her,” Jo said, “but all the credit goes to her.”

Anyone wishing to hire Calli for an odd job can contact her mother Jo Jo Good on Facebook. As she states in her ad, Calli can do either inside or outside work and will always have a parent with her on the job.

“I might be young,” Calli’s ad reads, “but I know how to clean and take care of yards and can shovel snow, paint porches, walk animals and more.”

She’s also available for yard work, she said, and has raised four Longhorn rodeo cows and ‘can work a shovel.’

Calli is available most weekends and outside of school hours – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – on all days but Tuesday.