A few weeks ago, I had an idea to hold a small lemonade stand at my classroom door with my students for some extra end of the year fun (and learning). I first went to the blogs to see if there were any wonderful ideas already out there. I found this inspiring post by Sarah Cooley from First Grader at Last. After reading her post, I went HERE and quickly realized this was no longer going to be a "small lemonade stand at my classroom door". I e-mailed my principal (who's amazing) and she gave me her approval. Thus began our Lemonade Stand for "Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation" to raise money for pediatric cancer research. I am so excited to say that our class was featured on the front page of our town's newspaper this morning!
(special thanks to Mr. & Mrs. M & family for building this amazing stand)
Meet Alexandra "Alex" Scott a brave young girl who may have understood more about life in her short 8 years on this earth than any of us. Shortly before her first birthday, Alex was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer. On her first birthday, the doctors informed Alex's parents that if she beat her cancer it was doubtful that she would ever walk again. Just two weeks later, Alex slightly moved her leg at her parents' request to kick. This was the first indication of who she would turn out to be - a determined, courageous, confident and inspiring child with big dreams and big accomplishments.
By her second birthday, Alex was crawling and able to stand up with leg braces. She worked hard to gain strength and to learn how to walk. She appeared to be beating the odds, until the shattering discovery within the next year that her tumors had started growing again. In the year 2000, the day after her fourth birthday, Alex received a stem cell transplant and informed her mother, "when I get out of the hospital I want to have a lemonade stand." She said she wanted to give the money to doctors to allow them to "help other kids, like they helped me." True to her word, she held her first lemonade stand later that year with the help of her older brother and raised an amazing $2,000 for "her hospital."
While bravely battling her own cancer, Alex and her family continued to hold yearly lemonade stands in her front yard to benefit childhood cancer research.
In August of 2004, Alex passed away at the age of 8, knowing that, with the help of others, she had raised more than $1 million to help find a cure for the disease that took her life. Alex's family - including brothers Patrick, Eddie, and Joey - and supporters around the world are committed to continuing her inspiring legacy through Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Friday, April 27 my class held a lemonade stand in honor of Alex. It was a bigger success than we could have hoped for. My entire school came together to support our cause, it was touching to be a part of. Once we announced our plans to the school, I was overwhelmed with support. So many people went out of their way to share their personal stories about cancer with me and to tell me how thankful they were that we would raise money for this. Countless people offered their time to help with anything that we needed. I lost track of how many people donated lemonade and volunteered their time. Without this flood of support, we would not have been able to maintain the lemonade stand throughout the school day. We would have been closed after the first hour!
As we opened our stand, the hallway was full of customers. Additionally, we had special visitors from the newspaper there to watch, take pictures and interview us. Not to worry though, my class was ready! One student explained to the newspaper reporter, "We've trained for this". He was right, I approached this unit with my class as a business. It was my hope that through some of our lessons I would be able to teach them some life skills as well. We based our unit on a sweet book about Alex titled "Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand". You can watch it online HERE.
From there we learned about Alex, wrote about her life, completed a craftivity, made predictions about our future sales, tested our product, graphed whether we liked pink lemonade or yellow lemonade better and made a work schedule for our lemonade stand. I told the kiddos that their uniform for the day would be to wear yellow. They were to report to work (school) on time and be ready to work their shift. We held a mock lemonade stand 2 days before where we perfected our customer service skills and practiced working together.
The classroom discussions and the effort the children put into getting ready for the big day isn't something that I could have never written down in a lesson plan. They took ownership of this project and it became bigger than I could have ever predicted. I have never been more proud!
Before we opened for business, we had already raised $25.00. We sold over 800 cups of lemonade raising a total $462.85!!! Exactly how many cups we sold is hard to determine due to so many generous donations. Many of my kiddos couldn't wrap their minds around why people would just hand us money and not want lemonade in return. These were truly teachable moments where I was able to explain human kindness and compassion.
We hung posters around the school to advertise the big event. So adorable!
Who knew? Pink lemonade won!
We set a class goal of $60.00.
We wrote about Alex's story.
We completed a "How To" writing from First Grader At Last's unit.
We discussed what kind of person Alex must have been to start something so important.
Mrs. Holloman my wonderful assistant!