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West Side Middle Schoolers Create, Sell Their Own Wrapping Paper -- And It Takes Off Big

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Christmas trees, snowmen, and candy canes are all among fresh new designs from a group of West Side middle schoolers.

They are putting their skills to good use this season, creating and selling their own wrapping paper. As CBS 2's Jackie Kostek reported Friday night, it all started with a kid who was having a bad day.

"I think we're at $311 right now," said Reggie Reed, 13.

With the handful of money he helped earn, Reggie is feeling pretty good.

"All of us did it," he said. "Not just one person, but all of us did it as a family."

It's a big turnaround from a little over a year ago, when Reggie - like all of us from time to time - was feeling pretty bummed out.

"Miss Steffanie was like, 'Hey Reggie, what do you want to be when you grow up?' And I was like, 'I don't know.' And she was like, 'you should be an entrepreneur.' And then I was like, "Ain't nobody going to want to buy my stuff from me," Reggie said. "And then she was like, 'Well, we're going to start.'"

The leaders of the after-school program at Reborn Ministries in West Garfield Park understood that telling a child they're worthy of something doesn't always mean they'll believe it. Sometimes, they need to see it for themselves.

So the adults hatched a plan – they put the kids to work designing and creating holiday wrapping paper they could sell themselves to raise money for field trips. Each child got to work drawing a holiday design.

"I took those drawings and I processed them, and I used my iPad to draw over the images," said Hannah, a Reborn Ministries/City of Refuge Volunteer, "and then I designed them into a pattern so that that way, it's the paper."

The result is something truly special.

"I was shocked because I didn't think we could do it at first," one young woman said. "Now that I finally saw it, I was happy."

They are not just happy to see their designs come to life on the page – they're proud too.

"It's my drawing, and my drawing good," said Kiyah Farr.

The designs are so good that they captured the attention of the pen company Uni-ball, which is now selling the paper online - taking the burgeoning small business nationwide. That all gives the young entrepreneurs good reason to feel pretty good.

"It feels like that I'm going to get a blessing when I grow up, and I'm going to be something," Reggie said.

"Reggie, you already are," Kostek told him. "You already are."

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