Sweet! Mentors needed for Lemonade Day

When you see a little leaguer holding a bat the wrong way, you teach her to choke up. When a budding artist struggles with a pair of scissors, you gently turn them around. If your pint-sized pianist can’t remember the next note, you teach him a trick to remember.

But stroll down memory lane back to the day you made a lemonade stand in the front yard. Was anyone there to share sage business advice? Sure, there’s merit in having fun just for the sake of fun, but why not give our future entrepreneurs the kind of attention and guidance that could turn that moment of fun into a lifetime of it.

Some Thurston County volunteers are doing just that by bringing Lemonade Day to Thurston County for the second year in a row. “Lemonade Day is a national program that brings business mentors together with kids who are building their own lemonade stands,” shares Jean Carr, one of those mentors.

Children from the Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County and North Thurston Public Schools after school program will be partnered with volunteer mentors to help answer questions like how they’re going to build their stand, what they’re going to serve, what supplies they need, what they’re going to charge, and how they’re going to advertise.

Participants not only run their lemonade stand, but create a business plan and present it to a businessperson from the community. “That’s where the other volunteer opportunity comes in,” Jean explained. “Business people can volunteer to meet with them at their after-school location to listen when they present their ideas and provide feedback.”  The kids use the training and feedback to create and run their stands, which will all be located on Lemonade Lane at the Lacey Spring Fun Fair on May 6.

Jean is part of a team of local volunteers who have joined the effort spearheaded by the Thurston County Economic Development Council and Lacey South Sound Chamber. An entrepreneur herself, Jean started her own business, SCJ Alliance, with a couple partners nearly 11 years ago. Jean said Habitat for Humanity helps on Building Day, while Lowes donates the plywood and makes the cuts. Both TwinStar Credit Union and the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council are presenting sponsors – providing the funding to purchase the workbooks and participate in the national program.

“It really is a statement how many organizations are involved in this effort,” Jean said. “From large, national corporations to the local mentors meeting with these kids one on one, we are invested in them.”

After just one year of the program in Thurston County, Jean said she saw that investment in the community returned.

“The participants get to keep the money they make, and last year, every one of the teams contributed a portion of the money to another organization,” she said. “It was just a suggestion, and all of them did it.”

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Lemonade Day mentor, contact Jean Carr or Holly Paxon (360) 491-3860 x2214 hpaxson@trl.org. And be sure to attend the Fun Fair on May 6 to grab a cup of lemonade from the kids!

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