When it comes to finding ways to get children involved in the community, many people draw a blank. Parents often think their child is too young, too irresponsible, or too busy to truly help anyone. However, the truth of the matter is, anyone can help their community, even if it is in a small way, and everyone should help in any way they can. Giving back is truly rewarding, and after donating their time and efforts your kids are likely to ask to do so more often.
There are a number of traditional ways for kids to help out in the community. These include such tasks as cleaning up litter, visiting the sick, and donating toys to a charity. All of these are excellent ways to introduce your kids to the idea of giving to others and being involved in the world around them, and all such tasks should be done on a regular basis. However, there is one way even young children can make an even bigger difference: a lemonade stand.
Did you know that by holding an ordinary lemonade stand your kids could help children everywhere with their battle against cancer? Thanks to an amazing organization called Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, it's true!
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation was founded by a 4-year-old girl, Alexandra "Alex" Scott. Alex held her first lemonade stand in 2000 after undergoing a stem cell transplant to treat neuroblastoma. She had been battling the disease since shortly before her first birthday, and she wanted to raise money so doctors could help other children fighting cancer. Her first stand, run with the help of her older brother, raised a whopping $1,000. After that initial success, Alex continued to hold lemonade stands every year, and each year they grew bigger as word spread about Alex and her mission.
In 2004, when she was only eight years old, Alex passed away. Together with her family, she had raised over $1 million to help find a cure for cancer. Today, the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation is still going strong and has raised over $120 million, all donated to cancer research.
The program works because kids across the U.S. —and their parents— are willing to spend the time and effort it takes to raise some serious dough by putting together the simplest of businesses: a lemonade stand. Lemonade stand operators are sent a special fundraising packet, and are expected to raise awareness in their community using local news stations, fliers, and local magazine or newspaper articles. They hold their lemonade stand, raise as much money as possible, and send the money back in to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation so it can be used to fund cancer research.
Lemonade stands are easy to put together, and —with the right location— an excellent way to make some cash. Why not get your kids involved in the fight against cancer by holding your own simple lemonade stand? Find a table and a tablecloth, squeeze some lemons, add water and sugar, pick up some paper cups and change, and you're in business. Invite friends to help and make it a fun group event your kids are sure to remember for years to come.
If a lemonade stand is not an option due to location or other circumstances, perhaps your children would be willing to donate their birthday gifts to the foundation. Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation suggests holding a lemon-themed birthday party and ask for donations to the foundation in lieu of gifts. As part of the "lemon" theme, you could include a lemon cake, lemonade to drink, yellow decorations, or lemon-flavored candy as party favors. Get creative and make it a birthday to remember!
To learn more about Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit www.alexslemonade.org.