Hometown Hero Turns Baking into Business to Fund Dreams

By Melanie Chapman | mchapman@kolr10.com

Published 04/09 2014 07:32PM

Updated 04/09 2014 09:20PM

CHESTNUTRIDGE, Mo. -- Spurred by her passion for baking and a dream, 13-year-old Haley Robichaux-Koontz started a business to help other kids fulfill their dreams.

Haley lives at Jacob’s House, a non-profit, privately-funded placement home for children just outside of Branson.

Her story is unique. When she was eight months old, she was placed in Jacob’s House. The 70-acre home offers a loving place for abused and abandoned children, or those who need temporary housing.

“It’s not really a children's ranch, it's more like a home because you don't have restrictions,” explains Haley. “Well, you do have restrictions, well you do if you get in trouble, but you get to ride horses. It's more outdoorsy stuff. We have a garden so it's more outdoors hands-on stuff.”

But Haley’s true passion evolved when she was only six and in the kitchen with volunteers.

“They would always be cooking or baking whatever and they would hand me a rolling pin,” Haley says. “And I would roll out dough or help with cookies and that's how it started.”

Seven years later, Haley turned her love for baking into a business, Haley’s Sweet Dreams.

“She is an amazing and very talented little girl,” says Penny Robichaux-Koontz, founder of Jacob’s House. “But like so many of our children, they have great talent but they don't know where to land. And some of them don't come with a dream inside, but I believe they were born with a dream in them.”

While Haley’s dream is coming true, she wants to make sure other children’s’ dreams at Jacob’s House can come true too.

“It's called the dream account,” says Haley. “Profit out of my bakery goes into the dream account, so it helps other kids get to do their dreams also.”

Penny eventually adopted Haley and helped her grow her dream. Now the two are helping other kids do the same.

“There's more to a dream than just the dream itself,” Penny says. “You don't arrive successful, you build and so that was my job to help her build that foundation. “

Haley's sales are outstanding, mostly through her website. Soon she'll have a mobile food truck and take her sales on the road.

Haley says she believes every dream can come true.

“They can do it if they put their minds to it,” she says. “So they should at least try to start it and it will grow on from there.”

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