Introducing Clark County to Lemonade Day: Turning Lemons into Life-Long Lessons
When I was 25, I started a non-profit called FLOW – Future Leaders Of the World. The goal of this organization was to teach financial literacy and positive life skills to youth. My ultimate goal was to get these taught in schools. At that time, I was working 80 hours a week, I wasn’t able to fully launch, and the program fell by the wayside.
But I was still committed to working towards that goal, either by starting over or finding a program that matched my mission. When the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce first heard about Lemonade Day, it was an “AHA” moment for me. The skies opened up, the sun shone down, and my goal was handed to me on a silver platter.
Bringing Lemonade Day to Clark County
While so many people take part in the day of the event, the true value is the time spent by volunteers leading up to Clark County’s first Lemonade Day. We’re actually taking the curriculum to teach the youth, we’re getting it into the schools. We met with a lot of superintendents, mayors of different Clark County cities, and others to get the curriculum in the schools.
That was the goal – give youth the ability, the tools, to learn about supply and demand, how to make money, and other business concepts. All of this is working towards the students opening their own lemonade stand. There will be promotions, marketing, and other avenues of getting the word out, but the hard part is already underway.
Events include the Best Lemonade Stand, where we’ll have a local home improvement business come in and show the kids how to build a lemonade stand. I’ll be talking with groups of kids about how to start a business and what they need to think about financially.
Our Main Squeeze sponsor, IQ Credit Union, will talk to students about different loans, how much to take out, how much to pay back, and learning basic math. Even learning how to hold a fundraiser to secure funds for a start-up. In this case, children can talk to a member of the family about needed funds.
At the end, Lemonade Day will teach kids how to manage profits from the day. For example, they may want to buy a new pair of shoes or a video game. If so, a third of the money will go towards a want. Another third will go to savings, and the final third we recommend that they make a charitable donation, so they can learn about giving. We want to show the kids how to set goals, work towards those goals, how to save, and how to give back.
From Sour Beginnings
I often look back at my youth, my education, my environment growing up. I was expelled from my high school, sent to an alternative school, often got jumped by a local gang, and was shot at more times than I care to remember. Somehow, I escaped unscathed from that situation – but I just thought it was normal.
We want to give Clark County students access to positive influences, to show them that kind of life isn’t normal. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. I was lucky to have people come into my life, to have someone who cared about me, to expose me to positive situations. My goal is to have that kind of impact on the young, the at-risk kids. To create a ripple effect with today’s youth, who will then have a ripple effect of their own.
Learn From Experience
Experience is the best teacher – we want to give them real-world experience. My first foray into the entrepreneurial fray came when I was 12. I would take my skateboard to PDX and offer to return those luggage carts for people after they loaded the car or after checking the luggage.
The thing was, passengers paid $1.50 to use those luggage carts, but would get 75 cents back when they were returned. I discovered that I could offer value to someone else (return carts for those flyers that were in a hurry), but also allow myself to do the things I wanted. I could make $15 in a day if I applied myself.
To me, events like Lemonade Day, groups like the Boys and Girls Club, and school districts that see the value in teaching financial principles are vital for our future. These kids are at a very impressionable stage – we hope to develop certain beliefs and ideals that create a path for the rest of their life.
We can really impact the future today. If we start small, self-sufficiency can grow exponentially. By saving five dollars a month now, increase that to $50 a few years later, then $100 month when starting a career, the impact after a few decades can be life-altering. That’s what I want to bring to the schools.
Produced by the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, Lemonade Day has made its way to Southwest Washington. Held June 6, 2020, throughout Clark County, kids will look to impress with homemade stands, cheerful dispositions, and a quality product.
Since 2007, Lemonade Day has been cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit. Michael Holthouse, himself an entrepreneur that grew a $100 million company from the ground up, wanted to teach kids what it meant to start, own, and operate a business on their own.
The first Lemonade Day took place in Houston 13 years ago. Today, the program has grown from 2,700 kids in Texas to more than one million children across North America. Teaching kids the power of being your own boss, setting goals, and lots of hard work, Lemonade Day is showing kids how to serve – and give back – to the communities they live in.