Morning Mix


Hamilton teen secretly saves money for 3 years, buys home for mother & children in Ethiopia

Posted at 11:31 AM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 11:31:15-05

Jesse Klaasen is a 16-year-old from West Michigan with a heart for helping others. For the past three years he’s saved up all of his paychecks from working at a local cattle ranch, and used the money to buy a home for a mother and her children in Ethiopia through the Christian humanitarian organization, World Vision.

Jesse saved up his money in secret, not telling anyone of his goal to donate a house to a family in need. He saved $4,500 over the years instead of spending on typical priorities for a teenager like a smart phone, or going to costly events. Jesse used his old flip phone and drove his 2001 Chevy Blazer, all while keeping thousands stored in a hollowed-out book on his bedroom shelf.

He found the idea in World Vision’s Gift Catalog. The World Vision Gift Catalog features goats and over 100 other life-saving gifts that help better the lives of children, adults and communities in the U.S. and around the world. Shoppers don’t have to spend a fortune to share big dreams with a child in need this holiday season, gifts range from $16 to $50,000.

Jesse was inspired after his family adopted his two younger sisters from Ethiopia. When he was 13, he traveled with his family to Ethiopia and it forever changed his view on things and opened his heart even more to helping others. But even before that, Jesse sponsored children overseas and was always thinking of giving back.

Just in time for Giving Tuesday, the organization Thirty-One Gifts will match every donation to World Vision on November 27th with up to $2 million in product helping families around the world with items to keep babies warm, deliver medical supplies, and keep girls in school.

For more information on the World Vision Gift Catalog or how to help,  visit