Remembering Peter Benson

Today is a sad day at Lemonade Day as we mourn the death of one of our greatest influences and most ardent supporters. Dr. Peter Benson, passed away on Sunday October 2, 2011. Dr. Benson was a tremendous inspiration to Lemonade Day. Years ago when planning Prepared 4 Life, SEARCH Institute was instrumental in forming the mission and vision for the organization. The 40 Developmental Assets serve as touchstones for our work every day.  “Peter Benson was an extraordinary human being who was committed to growing great kids. The world is a less bright place today,” said Lemonade Day co-founder Michael Holthouse. Dr. Benson’s legacy will live on the millions of lives his work has enriched. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues during this time of sadness.

October 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Lemonade Day remembers …

Yesterday a coworker turned and asked me, “Where were you on 9/11?”  While every year I take time to reflect on that day, with the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday, it is even more on my mind.  There is so much chaos today – wild fires ravaging my state of Texas, devastating floods effecting so many of our Lemonade Day family, wars being fought around the world … but 10 years ago, there was a moment where it seemed the entire Earth stopped turning. As I went back to that day in my head – I was in college, living with 2 other girls in a house in Norman, OK. I turned on the TV as per my normal morning routine -and the 2nd plane flew into the tower. I just stared in disbelief at the TV very confused. I spent the remainder of the day in the School of Theater conference room preparing a mailing glued to the TV with fellow classmates and professors. – and I started to cry as I relayed that memory to my coworker.

So I began to ask, “Where were you on 9/11?”

Julie Eberly, Chief Expansion Officer
“On my way to work when the news story first hit , then at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston where I gathered with our Refugee Services staff, most of whom had actually come to the US as refugees. One dear friend, who was from Bosnia, had expressed through sobs that she was supposed to be safe here! It was sobering. That evening I went for a long and solemn run, and then we gathered at our church to pray.”

Esther Lee, National Project Coordinator
“I was in my 9th grade biology class, my teacher had the TV turned on (no sound) when my friends and I walked into class and we didn’t know what was going on. We saw the buildings and smoke coming out but didn’t understand. Some kids were pulled out of class and taken home and my best guy friend was worried because his parents were on a flight but he didn’t know any details so I worried for his family all day. Also remember going home and watching the news all night with my parents ”

Shannon Bishop, Vice President of Education
I was running late for work and getting ready. The Today Show was on and when the second plane hit the tower, I called the office and told them I wasn’t going in. I got back in bed and stayed there, transfixed by images beyond my comprehension, chanting the mantra, “May the world be full of loving kindness. May all beings be peaceful and at ease.” I was alone and wanted to have everyone I loved in the world around me. I had to call my friends and family and make sure they were okay, and of course they were (none in NYC, or at the Pentagon or on a plane over PA). My heart broke, and broke open with sorrow for those whose loved ones died. And my heart broke for all of us –  our country and the world. I knew it was a big moment … huge. Bigger than Columbine. Bigger than the Murrow building. Bigger than the Challenger. Even bigger than the JFK assassination. I knew that the death and destruction would not stop once the dust settled on the towers and the Pentagon. I couldn’t get T.S. Eliot out of my head-

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends

But it was ending with a bang, not a whimper. And we were the “hollow men, the stuffed men, forming prayers to broken stone.”

Kasey Hess, National Project Coordinator
“I was in math class and our teacher turned on the tv just in time to see the 2nd plane hit.  We were only in 7th grade and I remember we didn’t quite understand what was going on, we just knew it was bad.”

JC Perez, Houston Executive Director
“I remember this day as if it was yesterday!  At the time I was the  Texas Regional General Manager for Radio Unica Radio Inc and I was driving into the my office at the Arena Towers.  I was listening to my morning news team do their normal morning newscast and they interrupted regular programming with a special report about the first plane hitting the North tower.  About 10 minutes later my cell phone rang and it was my boss whose office was in midtown Manhattan and he told me what was going on and that I had to gather all of my staff in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and the Valley on a national conference call as soon as possible so that we could discuss our plan as a media company and how we were going to inform our public without causing more alarm.  When I got to my office I walked into the control room of the radio station and all of my staff was  there and in tears. We were just informed of the second tower being hit and of the other two planes that had gone down.

It felt as if we were in a movie and everything was happening in slow motion.  There was not a dry eye in the house and then I got a call from the building management telling me that we had to evacuate the building ASAP because there was a government office in our building and nobody knew if government buildings were targets across the country.

I gathered my staff in the conference room and told them they had to leave until further notice and that we would automate our station programming to run our news feed from Miami.

The eeriest part of this whole situation is that I was scheduled to be in New York that week in meetings with the top Hispanic advertising agencies and of course my business trip was cancelled.  I went to New York in late October and when I arrived I felt like I was in a foreign country.  My hotel was at 26th and Park Ave and was blocked off by army trucks checking each vehicle with mirrors underneath and checking for explosives.  On the wall across the street from my hotel there were pictures of thousands of missing persons-this was too much for me and I remember streams of tears coming down my face.  How can something like this happen in my hometown that I grew up in?

I still get shivers down my spine and teary eyed to this day talking about it.  That fateful day in September changed my world and the world of my friends, family and colleagues forever.”

Debbie Nazarian, City Director
“I was driving to work that morning and heard the news on the radio. I rushed to a tv when I got there and watched with my co-workers the horrible footage of the plane flying into the tower and the towers coming down. We all watched in complete silence.”

Aimee Friend, Houston Development Associate
“I was driving to work and heard it on news radio.  What I remember most about learning that the second tower had been hit is that Peter Jennings’ voice cracked and he had to pause for several moments as he was describing what he was seeing live.”

Where were you?

September 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

Catching up with Kasey

This week we caught up with Lemonade Day rockstar, Kasey. Here are some things I bet you didn’t know about the gal who provides support for the 31+ Lemonade Day cities … from budding graphic designer to Access know-it-all, Kasey totally geeks out over all things design and technology!

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?  Blue Bell Dessert Trio – homemade vanilla ice cream with a swirl of fudge with chunks of cookie dough AND brownie.

How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?   Like 7 years old?  They are amazing! They’re black and white patterned flats and I’ve worn them so much there are holes in the heels and the soles are starting to fall off but I have declared I will keep them ‘til the day that I die.

What movie do you know every line to?  You’ve Got Mail!

Favorite moment while at Lemonade Day? My first Lemonade Day.  It was really cool to see everything that we’d been working for come to life.

August 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm Leave a comment

Open For Business Tomorrow

Tomorrow is National Lemonade Day. No, not the one we celebrated on May 1. Not the one where we taught 120,000 kids how to start, own and operate their own business. But tomorrow your street corners and driveways will undoubtedly we dotted with fledgling start-ups.

photo credit: Jeff Jowdy/Jowdy Photography

And we support them. We support all lemonade stands. We support every youth in America. And we agree, “Selling lemonade is not a crime.

The lemonade stand is an iconic symbol of the American dream and the foundation of free enterprise. For many kids, operating a lemonade stand is their introduction to entrepreneurship. It teaches youth financial responsibility, the value of hard work, the joy of achieving a goal, making money, and the financial freedom to make their way in the world.

Of course government has a critical role in protecting the health of consumers. Food safety is a serious issue. Municipal health departments are essential in regulating professional food businesses that are run by adults. However, applying the strict regulations to lemonade stands is taking it too far. Let’s not let a law designed for food stores and restaurants get in the way of youth learning valuable lessons. Health inspectors should be empowered to use personal discretion when it comes to enforcing regulations on children’s lemonade stands.

John Sheptor, president of Imperial Sugar, supporting a lemonade stand at Discovery Green. photo credit: Elaine Mesker-Garci/EMG Images

Lemonade stands are childhood rites of passage. What is the risk to society if a young person sells lemonade on the corner. If health department officials shut down stands, we risk the unintended consequence of crushing the entrepreneurial spirit of the next generation. What does this teach children about government? In these times our country needs innovators and risk takers. Show your support. Buy a cup of lemonade from a young entrepreneur tomorrow.

And if your lemonade stand is open for business tomorrow, leave us a comment on where you are so we can support you!

August 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

Happy Friday!

Wednesday we attempted to find the wittiest fan through a caption contest on our facebook page. It’s something we dubbed Witty Words Wednesday and we think it will make an appearance pretty regularly given all the awesome photos we get of young entrepreneurs.

photo credit: Jeff Jowdy/Jowdy Photography

So … who’s the winner of our first ever Witty Words Wednesday?

Brian I. Block: “All those in favor of creating cars that use fewer fossil fuels and more lemonade, say aye!”

With a close 2nd tie by Merritt Shivitz’s “Their future is so bright they need shades” and DeNae Femme Fatale’s “We’re getting Lemonade Wasted!”

Thanks for playing along! Check back next week on our facebook to see if you can claim the throne of Wittiest in All the Land!

August 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm 2 comments

Meet Merritt

Today is the last day of our beloved ExxonMobil CSJP Intern, Merritt Shivitz. For the past eight weeks, Merritt has been on a top secret project that we can’t tell you about but, trust us, it is super important, world-shattering stuff. So before she leaves her CIA-operative-esque post to return to normalcy we thought we would share a little about her so you get an idea of who holds this highly-regarded position.

Did you have a lemonade stand as a child?

Yes I did. I had my first and only lemonade stand at the age of 14, the summer before I was entering high school. You could probably say this was around the age where I lost my cute factor. I still wonder if that factor affected our profit margin. As a child I would always ask to have a lemonade stand, but it just didn’t seem to fit into my mom’s schedule. So I guess you could say my lemonade stand was long awaited!

What movie do you know every line to?

I know every line to Mean Girlsevery line. I can’t really decide what that says about myself, or whether that is a good or bad thing.

How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?

My oldest pair of shoes would definitely be my seven year old pink crocs, which I got in the sixth grade. It is humiliating to some when I wear them to class or the grocery store. I just don’t think it is time to give them up.

What items could you not go without during the day?

I hate to say it, but I could not live without my cell phone. Twitter, Facebook, bank statements, class schedules, maps and anything else you would ever need is literally in the palm of your hand. Though sometimes it is nice to get away from the phone, it is nearly impossible to go without.

If you were a candy bar, what kind would you be?

I would undoubtedly be a Twix, not only because it is my favorite candy bar, but because you get two bars in one.

What’s your favourite memory of your time at Lemonade Day?

My favorite memory is when we played extreme office makeover. No one would’ve ever guessed how handy and innovative a group of five girls can be.

We wish Merritt the best of luck in her future. Of course, with the friends she’s made these past two months, how can she not be successful?

August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm Leave a comment

A day we will never forget

Dear Michael,

Before I turned all the remaining lights out I had to tell you, thank you.

What an amazing experience today was for me… to sponsor 4 young girls, ages 10-15  and watch them flourish as they invited and convinced various groups of park goers to taste and buy a glass of their “special’ lemonade.

The girls chose as their charity Texas Children’s Hospital and toward the end of the day a very skinny and shy young boy on his bike with his Mom…just happened to stop by and ask us what and who we were. As if anything, just happens…anyway, this very special young man who was soft spoken pulled his bike up right to our stand- as his mother hesitated- so tangible was her discomfort  we all could sense it and wondered why. When he looked closer at our sign and heard about the reason we were selling lemonade and what charity- he told his mom firmly that he wanted to buy a glass from us. As we poured one for him the girls also gave one to his mother who was a bit stand offish and would not engage other than to say, thank you for the lemonade.  After he told us his story we realized why…He told us that he, in fact, was waiting for a donor in order to have a heart transplant as soon as possible to take place at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Well, this squarely brought home to our young entrepreneurs the message of hard work and charity in a way that NONE of us will ever forget. The girls are going to give their donation to Texas Children’s Hospital in his name.

I know that we will tell this story many more times and with gratitude for a day that changed all our lives forever.

Lemonade Day was a day that we will never forget.

Thank you,

Curry Glassell

We recently got to sit down with these girls and talk to them … there’s even a song

August 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm 1 comment

Lemonade Day Goes to Ronald McDonald House

From Kenny The Awesome Intern:

As you may recall, Alex Ingle is a 6th grader at Burlington Christian Academy in North Carolina. He receives treatment for his cancer at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. With our headquarters located in Houston, Lemonade Day contacted Ms. Ingle to check if Alex was in town. Luckily, he was!

With the help of the Ronald McDonald House, we were able to set up a time to meet with the Ingles before they left for the airport. Ronald McDonald House intern, Nicole, even took pictures of the whole event.  Imperial Sugar showed up with t-shirts and other goodies for the whole family!

Crave Cupcakes was generous enough to donate dozens of cupcakes for everyone at Ronald McDonald House!

Nicole loves Crave Cupcakes!

Even Lemon Head was there to meet Alex and play with all of the children at Ronald McDonald House.

Decked out in Duke gear from head to toe, Alex was thrilled when he received a Duke University basketball book from Lemonade Day.

Thank you to everyone who helped and gave support to Alex and his family. It was truly a special and memorable day for everyone involved.  Alex will be back in Houston for more treatment in September.

Sharing all your tweets, posts and comments with Alex!

June 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

We get to meet the Ingles!

This summer we have some amazing interns. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Kenny on collecting and archiving stories that have come in.  I asked him to write about his favourite so far and he immediately knew he wanted to share the Ingle’s story. By sheer coincidence, Alex is in town RIGHT NOW and his family has agreed to let us meet him. Show your support and encouragement for Alex and his family by posting here, tweeting or posting on facebook your messages using #lemonadelove and we’ll share with him tomorrow.  Read his story below and I think you’ll understand why we are so excited to meet Alex and his family …

Written by Kenny Orchard

Throughout my short time working with Lemonade Day, I have read many heart- warming stories that truly show the impact the program has on communities. One story that stands out came from a small town in North Carolina.

Above: Alex Ingle stands with his mother Vickie, father Brad, sister Molly and dogs Buster and Beethoven at their home Wednesday. (Photo by Scott Muthersbaugh)

Alex Ingle, a 6th grader at Burlington Christian Academy, was always an upbeat and energetic kid. In 2009, Alex was diagnosed with a very rare and dangerous type of cancer. The Ingles were heart- broken. The disease not only came as a tragedy to the family, but also touched the entire community in a major way. What happened next was truly inspirational.

Alex seemed to have won the fight in November of 2010, but suddenly relapsed in December. His mother was heartbroken once again, writing, “My heart is broke. Alex has relapsed in a major way. He has hot spots in five different areas of his body. We need prayers and a miracle.”

Burlington Christian Academy decided to lend support to the Ingles. Alex was part of the BCA community. They were not going to have a member of their community fight this battle on his own. The school held multiple events in order to raise money for the family. The community also directly showed their support by babysitting the younger sister and cooking meals. When the teachers and students of BCA found out about Lemonade Day, they were all thrilled to be able to raise more money for Alex and his family. The kids worked hard finding investors, building their stands, making the lemonade; all trying to make the most money they could for their suffering friend. The school ended up raising a total of $3,800 for the Ingles.

The director of student ministries at BCA, Cathy Moffett, reported that Lemonade Day “was a wonderful outpouring of love for that family.”

The mother of a 1st grader at BCA stated, “This program taught her [daughter] quite a bit about starting her own business, but even more about extending a hand to those in need; and for that, as a parent, I am truly grateful.”

I think it is incredible how one program can have the power to gather an entire community and get them to aid a family in such a major way. The donation was a huge success. The money helped Alex pay for travel costs to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he currently is being treated. I am proud to be a part of a program that had such a positive effect on the Ingles and the entire community of Burlington Christian Academy. Lemonade Day exemplified how it can have a direct impact in helping Alex and his family, but how it also taught kids that giving to those in need is an essential skill in life. Though it is not capable of curing Alex’s disease, Lemonade Day gives hope to a family and a community, who simply wants one thing: a happy and healthy child and friend. I believe this program has the ability to repeat this life-changing outcome on hundreds of thousands of people across America.

UPDATE: I just found out that Alex Ingle and his family are currently in Houston undergoing treatment. I have arranged to meet them tomorrow. I would love to share your well wishes with the Ingles. Please comment here, tweet, post on our facebook page your encouragement using #lemonadelove and I will share your notes with the family.

June 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm 4 comments

Lemonade Day and Asperger

A Story From Indianapolis:

Gabe is 7 and autistic. He has Asperger Syndrome and rarely shows personal interest in community activities. So you can imagine how excited his mother was when Gabe told her he wanted to participate in Lemonade Day. Since Gabe gets easily distracted and wanders off, they chose to do their stand in their yard. Luckily, there was a church right across the street and Lemonade Day was on a Sunday so they were able to sell to church patrons entering and leaving services.

From Gabe’s mom before Lemonade Day:

“Why should you buy our lemonade? BECAUSE- 1) it will be homemade from scratch. We will buy fresh lemonade from local store, and will make them with our own hands! It will be all natural! Just like Gabe!! 2) the more people that come and buy his lemonade, the more he will get excited by people’s response AND he will get to learn how to properly interact with others while he is doing his first business as a young entrepreneur! He is high-functioning and a bit awkward in social setting, but he is trying his best to improve himself! and 3) it will be a wonderful learning experience for him in terms of business, social and interpersonal skills, and getting out of his own shell and meet others! SOOOOOOO, come out and meet us and most of all, buy our lemonade! You will be greeted by Gabe’s bright smile and excitement AND taste and fall in love with his special all natural lemonade!”

And a note the day after Lemonade Day:
“I wanted to thank you for having stopping by yesterday. Gabe got really excited, and the first thing he said to his principal was, “All the people came with a camera and bought my lemonade!” He was very happy yesterday. We immediately started to talk about how to build a real lemonade stand and expand the business next year! The boys had so much of fun.”

Why is Lemonade Day such a successful program? Very simply … kids ‘get it’; they learn how to set a goal, make a plan, work the plan and reach their goal. It is experiential, rewarding and can translate to any language, age, demographic, child and community. We do more than tell them they can be anything they want to be – we show them it’s possible.

To learn more about this program and how to bring Lemonade Day to your city visit

June 6, 2011 at 4:05 pm Leave a comment

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