BY ROSIE PIGA PIZZO
Amy Swain has a vision, and it’s the sweet sight of 800 kids setting up lemonade stands across Monroe County on May 20. As the city director of Lemonade Day, Swain hopes to surpass last year’s total of 737 kids selling lemonade for fun, profit, and charity.
This is the sixth year stands have popped up across Monroe County. The goal is to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. “It really teaches them those soft skills they will carry throughout their lives,” says Swain, who is also the fundraising events coordinator for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington, the host organization for Lemonade Day.
Last year, participants each made an average of $180 on Lemonade Day. “Kids do keep the money they earn,” Swain says, but they are encouraged to spend a little, save a little, and share a little. “We hear wonderful stories of kids opening their first savings account or donating to homebound seniors,” she says.
Realtor Donald Griffin Jr. saw firsthand the lessons his son Dexter, 15, learned as a two-year participant in the program. Dexter’s “Little G’s Lemonade” earned him the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year award when he was 12. “Without Lemonade Day, we wouldn’t have known that he had this gumption to be an entrepreneur,” says Griffin, who will be championing this year’s event with his wife, Nicole, and Dexter.
Participants receive a workbook to help them plan their strategy and a city permit for their stand. “Our goal is to make it easy for kids,” Swain says. “Just like the Boys & Girls Clubs, we want them to reach their potential.”
One hundred local businesses are doing their part by hosting stands. When kids register online, they can reserve a location using the site’s “Stands on the Map” feature. “It gives kids the opportunity to consult with the business regarding hours, where they can set up, and other information that’s important to know for planning a stand,” Swain says.
The map also helps kids strategize how to best utilize their location. “We had someone set up outside the ball fields in Ellettsville last year, and they sold Gatorade as well as lemonade,” Swain says.
Registration is open right up until Lemonade Day. For more information or to register, visit monroecounty.lemonadeday.org.