Amanda Stephens is working to help Killeen make a big splash on National Lemonade Day 2013.
Lemonade Day is a national entrepreneurship program for children started by the nonprofit Prepared for Life.
Stephens, Killeen’s Lemonade Day director for the fourth year in a row, said she expects the program to be bigger than ever this year. She sat down with the Herald to talk about what Lemonade Day is, why she thinks it is important and how she got involved.
What is Lemonade Day?
Lemonade Day is all about entrepreneurship. It teaches youth how to start, own and operate their own business through the time-honored tradition of a lemonade stand. They learn everything from finding an investor to developing products, advertising, budgeting — all within the context of a very fine experiential learning activity. The program entails a child registering with their parent, caring adult or mentor, and they get a free yellow backpack. Inside that backpack, they get an entrepreneur workbook, which is really the heart and soul of Lemonade Day. That is where the lessons and activities for the child to plan and set goals for their business are. May 5 is National Lemonade Day, which is considered opening business day, so they will set up their lemonade stands across the community and nationwide.
What is going on with Lemonade Day this week?
We’re kicking off online registration (http://forthood.lemonadeday.org/), so backpacks are ready to go. Typically, through March and April, you’ll see myself and other volunteers at community events. Look for the yellow backpacks. Also, parents, mentors and teachers can go online, register a child to participate and then pick up a backpack from one of our pickup locations.
How many local kids have participated in the past? How many do you expect this year?
Last year, we had approximately 2,000, which was an increase. Our first year we had about 730 kids. Each year we continue to grow. Those kids come from Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove and Fort Hood. We are shooting for 2,500 registered participants. Each year, as the programs grows and more children participate and tell their friends, there is added anticipation and excitement. But this year we’re very excited. For one thing, Google has endorsed National Lemonade Day, which is huge. It draws a tremendous amount of attention to the program. In addition, we have media sponsors and helping us get the word out. Our community partners are really stepping up, too.
How involved is the community in making this all happen?
The beauty of Lemonade Day is it’s intended to be a community event. By that, I mean every aspect. From municipalities to local businesses to families and parents ... churches ... the whole intent is to show our children we believe in them. We want to inspire them to dream and help them learn the life skills to accomplish those dreams. Lemonade Day does that. Partners can promote it through their establishment. We have some partners who contribute financially. And other contribute through mentorship, which is a huge piece. First National Bank Texas and Fort Hood National Bank are our title sponsors. Other sponsors include Western Union Foundation, H-E-B and Chick-fil-A, to name a few.