Guest post by Elisa Cobb and Angie Aselin, 2nd Grade Teachers, Spring Texas
Every year, our principal asks our team to come up with a second-grade level philanthropy project. While brainstorming new ideas, one of our team members suggested Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). The majority of us didn’t know much about it. As educators of 8-year-old children, it didn’t take much research to realize we had chosen our philanthropy—ALSF is all about kids helping other kids!
We jumped in feet first not knowing what to expect—little did we know our lemonade stand would take on a life of its own! We saw our students—some of which don’t often raise their hands—become passionate in classroom discussions about doing something for the purpose of serving others. What started out as something that we feared would add to our colleagues’ already full plates became a joyous and fulfilling experience. So fulfilling and successful—we doubled our fundraising goal with the amazing support of our entire school community!
Here are the top 10 things we have found to be beneficial for hosting a successful stand!
1. Pick your date and tie it in with an existing school-wide event. This way, you know you will have more participation from your community. For example, we held our Lemonade Stand at the Spring Fling where we knew we always had a good turnout.
2. Communicate details of the event with your staff and families. We utilized the fundraising letter templates from the ALSF website to compose a letter to our students, families and faculty with details about our upcoming lemonade stand and coin collection. This is where we also included a link to the T-shirt we were going to be wearing every Friday until our event, giving students the opportunity to purchase one, too. Our students were proud to match their teachers and support the cause.
3. Read Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand. Each classroom teacher within our grade level read the book aloud to their students. We also had a teacher read the book aloud on our video announcements so that all 1,200 students in our school would have the opportunity to understand the cause we were raising money for. We also decided to dedicate the book to a former student in our school who was fighting cancer at the time. We had each class in the building, grades K-4, sign the book and a former teacher delivered it to the student.
4. Prepare to build your lemonade stand. One of our teachers contacted a local hardware store and they willingly agreed to donate the lumber and materials to build the lemonade stand. Her brother-in-law volunteered to build and paint it for us using the blueprint, here.
5. Collect your supplies. As teachers, we knew we wanted to get our parents on board. There is no better way to do that than to use a website such as SignUpGenius.com or VolunteerSpot.com. As a result, we had all of our lemonade donated to us. The first year, we asked for yellow cups from our local party store. The following year, our school purchased the printed lemonade cups from the ALSF website.
6. Motivate your students to get involved. Anticipating that some students may not be able to participate in the actual event (because it was outside of school hours), we decided to also have a coin collection in each of our classrooms. In our school cafeteria, we put up an empty lemon tree using bulletin board paper. As students brought in coins, they received a lemon to write their name on and hang on the tree. The joy that we saw in our students' faces was priceless. They loved that they were doing something that helped others. They were proud to put their name on that tree. The coin boxes and lemon template are all available in the Downloads section of the ALSF website.
7. Advertise the big day! We enlarged the posters that came in our stand kit and hung them around our school. We reminded students on the announcements that our big day was coming. Wearing our t-shirts every Friday leading up to the event was a big hit. We saw more and more students showing up with that bright yellow shirt on Friday leading up to the big day. We even had some students make their own shirts!
8. Make a bulletin board. We noticed the students were getting so excited about how much money they were collecting, that we decided to make a bulletin board and graph their progress daily (it thrilled us to be able to tie in math!) We put an empty cup on the board to start and filled it with lemons. Each lemon was worth $5. You could hear the chatter in the hallway, “We added more lemons! Look how much money we have now!”
9. Manage your stand for the day of the event. We encouraged all students to attend the event and help promote the sale of the lemonade. We even had students walking around with posters. With 250 students in 2nd grade, not everyone could be behind the stand; therefore, each teacher chose 1-2 students from their classroom to serve lemonade on the day of the event. We sent home permission slips with instructions and information for their parents.
10. Make connections even after the stand is over. Once the event was over we returned to our normal school routine, but we did not forget all the lessons we learned! If your school has a subscription to Reading A-Z, the book titled “How To Make Lemonade” has a blurb at the end about ALSF. Teachers live for the moments when students make real connections to their learning. If we could bottle the looks on their faces when they saw that…we could sell pure joy in a bottle.
Elisa Cobb and Angie Aselin are second-grade teachers and Lemonade Stand hosts from Spring, Texas. After hosting two successful lemonade stands, they decided to tackle the Lemon Climb Houston, where they climbed 70 flights of stairs and had the opportunity to meet Alex’s dad, Jay Scott. This dynamic duo now hosts stands at two elementary schools within their local school district.
Want to get your school involved? Register your stand or event and learn more here.