Sometimes as parents it is easier to say “no” than to give in to our children’s desires and silly requests. For two years, my husband Peter and I took the easy route and redirected our son’s resilient requests to hold a lemonade stand by telling him it was “too hot out” or “no one would come.” Despite our consistent “today is not a good day” answers, our son P.J. would load up the cooler with pitchers and cups and pretend he was holding a stand to help “the sick kids” he saw on TV. Then, while on vacation in January we enjoyed a bottle of Alex’s Lemonade and knew it was a sign that it was time to give in and help P.J. organize a stand. We are so glad we did. Hosting an ALS was a lesson-filled experience for our whole family. It was simple and a wonderful way to engage children in philanthropy.
Thanks to the ALSF and to Alex's vision, 5-year-old P.J. learned so many wonderful lessons as host of his first Alex's Lemonade Stand. He is a fantastic marketer! P.J. gave fliers to everyone he saw - from the local Safeway staff to neighbors, and even the baristas at Starbucks! We saw first hand his dedication at work. P.J. picked lemons, squeezed them and staffed his stand until the very end! He did not complain or whine -but kept going. He did this not because we told him to, but because the stand was his idea! And the most character building moment for P.J. was when a reporter asked him what he was going to do with all the money he raised and his response was: "I am going to send it to the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. They know what to do with it. They will give it to help the kids with cancer and their families."
While fundraising and altruism are in our family genes, it was still so inspiring for us to watch little P.J. make a big difference...that resulted in $1,229 in donations!
Thanks to super TV and print publicity, P.J. received letters and contribution checks from several nearby senior citizens who could not make the drive out to enjoy a cup. One letter was from an 84-year-old man who praised P.J. for his good deeds with the most thoughtful and beautiful sentiments. This letter, along with the memories of P.J.’s first ALS, will be cherished by our family forever.
Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Scott for giving children like P.J. the opportunity celebrate Alex’s life and in P.J.'s words, "to help kids with cancer feel better."
P.J. has already announced that next President's Day he is going to host another stand!
Hopefully, we will have mastered the recipe for fresh squeezed lemonade by then!