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Making money out of Lemonade Day

Scott Schlafer
Special to The Aspen Times

Contributed photo

Almost every child has unconsciously used some degree of entrepreneurial skills growing up through the most basic business operation — a lemonade stand.

Lupita Ortiz, 10, participated in last year’s Lemonade Day and chose to design her lemonade stand with a pinkish-lemon design.

“I had a pink shirt on, and I put lemons in all the drinks for extra design,” Ortiz said.

Although only entering fifth grade, she said Lemonade Day taught her important life lessons.

“I learned how to run my own business, be better organized and to be less shy. I also will make sure to make more money this year than the year before,” Ortiz said.

Lemonade Day is an annual program held in more than 35 participating cities across the country. The Buddy Program launched the Roaring Fork Valley’s first Lemonade Day last year and will be sponsoring it for a second time June 29. The Buddy Program is a nonprofit aimed at uniting the community by providing youth with one-on-one mentors.

Organizers intend Lemonade Day to be a fun, educational program designed to bring the community together and teach kids how to start and manage their own businesses. While the children get to have fun with their mentors and friends by creating and operating their own lemonade stands, they also receive an invaluable experience. It turns out that managing a lemonade stand offers kids much more than just an opportunity to make a couple of bucks for their piggy banks.

“(Lemonade Day) enhances all the lessons kids typically learn. They learn hard work, how to set goals, some financial literacy, how to save for their future and how to be successful entrepreneurs,” said Heather Hicks, Lemonade Day director. “The program also gives kids a healthy and constructive way to spend their time.”

The program is made up of two components: a monthlong learning process leading up to the event and the actual business implementation. The learning experience can occur in the classroom, in various workshops or with the child’s mentor through a step-by-step process available upon registration. Lemonade Day has partnered with multiple youth-focused organizations including schools and faith-based groups. At Glenwood Springs Elementary, the entire third-grade class incorporates Lemonade Day into the curriculum.

Teachers incorporate state-approved subjects such as business finance and economics through the lemonade-stand model. There are also dozens of artistic workshops available to help the kids add a creative and personal touch to their lemonade stands.

A unique aspect of this program is how the participating children choose to spend their profits. Being that the majority of registered kids are in elementary school, you might expect them to spend their money on a new toy or some ice cream. In last year’s Lemonade Day, more than 90 percent of participants donated to charity. Ortiz divided her profits into four different charities, including the Buddy Program and the Red Cross.

Last year’s Lemonade Day had nearly 400 youth participants, and the Buddy Program is hoping to get closer to 1,000 participants this year, according to Hicks. With the help of a grant from the Daniels Fun, registration is free of charge, and 215 children have signed up already.

Scott Schlafer is working at The Aspen Times as an intern this summer.


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