Angelica Vaughn helps her daughter, Ka'nia Lucious, put a top on a lemonade cup for Joe Fountain while his mother, Amy, watches in this 2018 Dispatch file photo. Lucious set up a lemonade stand in downtown Starkville for Lemonade Day last year and will set up shop again on Saturday near Starkville Cafe. Nearly 300 children are expected to participate throughout the Golden Triangle Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Photo by: Dispatch file photo
May 30, 2019 10:13:58 AM
Brooke Washington, 11, really wanted to set up a lemonade stand last year.
Although Lemonade Day, a national event designed to teach kids the basic skills for owning and running a business, was only held in Starkville, Washington opened up shop in her front yard in Columbus. Brooke's mother, Yolanda Washington, said Brooke's first business was booming last summer, selling lemonade to passersby for $1 per cup.
"She did really good and she did her own thing last summer by herself," Washington said. "She did a good job and made lots of money. This year she wants to do something different. She's making regular lemonade and pink lemonade."
Brooke will set up her new station as a part of the Golden Triangle's Lemonade Day -- this year in Columbus and West Point as well as Starkville -- on Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon in front of Columbus City Hall.
"I have been making the lemonade stand mostly and getting the lemonade ready and the cookies ready," Brooke said. "My momma taught me how to make them."
Brooke is one of more than 220 children participating in the Golden Triangle Lemonade Day. Organizer Jeffery Rupp, the director for outreach with Mississippi State University's Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach, said 300 children may be involved by the time sign up ends Saturday. The goal behind the program is to teach children -- from preschool to eighth grade -- financial literacy and understanding at a young age, he added.
Participants signed up online and received a free workbook which walked them through the basics of creating a business and marketing plan while also teaching financial responsibility. The students who signed up to participate could receive feedback from local business owners or volunteer mentors on their business and marketing plans. Some children even signed up for micro-loans of up to $50 from Cadence Bank -- and every single one who did paid back the money last year, Rupp said.
"Planning and running a lemonade stand teaches kids important business and financial literacy skills," said Doug Robertson, Columbus president for Cadence Bank, in an emailed statement. "Thinking responsibly about spending and saving at an early age sets the stage for success. By applying skills like budgeting, calculating net profit and repaying debt, participants can put real-world math skills into action. We are excited to serve as a Lemonade Day sponsor and to empower entrepreneurship among tomorrow's business leaders."
Brooke totaled about $125 last year at her stand and hopes to make more on Saturday. She said she did not take out a loan this year since she had money saved from last year's sales. She said she would spend some money shopping for clothes, but will donate a portion of her sales to the Red Cross.
Rupp said with last year's success, he's hoping for a larger turnout by adding Columbus and West Point.
"We didn't know what to expect last year because it was new," Rupp said. "It rained on the day we had it, and we still had 60-something stands. It did not dampen the enthusiasm. We were really surprised with the number of kids and the public support. None of it works without the public support and it's an easy thing to get behind. All you have to do is go out and buy some lemonade."
Columbus Main Street Director Barbara Bigelow said with stands set up in front of businesses, on Main Street and all throughout the Golden Triangle, Lemonade Day offers a great chance for people to get out in the community and support children.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for young kids with an entrepreneurial spirit to learn the basics of business," Bigelow said. "They learn about business plans, how to handle money, they understand the importance of paying bills and they learn to give back to the community. ... They are very excited about it. I would encourage everyone to visit as many kids as they can, sample some lemonade and let them know how good it is. After all, they are our future leaders."
For some, business plans start early. Evalyn Smith, 3, who will be starting preschool this year, will work a lemonade stand outside The Commercial Dispatch. Evalyn's mother, Aysia, says she hopes Evalyn learns the value of hard work.
"Her dad was the one who brought up the idea, and I thought it would be a good way to get out into the community," Aysia said. "She's really friendly. She's not quite old enough to understand the value of a dollar, but it is a good way for her to see that she can make money by doing something simple."
Last year, Ka'Nia Lucious, 9, set up shop on Main Street near Starkville Cafe, totaling about $100. This year, she hopes to make more money so she can help make a difference. Angelica Vaughn, Lucious' mother, said she taught her daughter to donate 10 percent of sales to her church, save some and spend some.
"I saved money for (St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee) last year," Lucious said. "This year I'm going to give some to St. Jude and put some in the bank for college. I'm mostly excited about people just coming and asking for lemonade and see my smiling face."
Giving back to the community, Rupp said, is a part of the National Lemonade Day mission.
"We ask that kids spend some because they earned it, save some because that's what you should do and share some because you should also always give back to the community," Rupp said.
To sign up for Lemonade Day, go to www.lemonadeday.org/golden-triangle.
Rupp said lemonade stands hours and locations may vary. Go to https://lemonadeday.org/golden-triangle/stands-map to see where the stands are.
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