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Children learn to squeeze lemonade into cash

For many children opening a lemonade stand is their first try at making money. So why not turn that effort into a formal lesson in entrepreneurism?

That’s the concept behind Lemonade Day, a free program that teaches young people how to start, own and operate their own business.  This year will be the second go around for Lemonade Day Detroit. The goal is to have hundreds of area children run their own lemonade stands on Saturday, June 9.

The foremost objective of Lemonade Day is to empower young people to take ownership of their lives and become productive members of society so they become the business leaders, social advocates, volunteers and forward-thinking citizens of tomorrow.  Lemonade Day is “a personal initiative for our young people to learn skills to navigate the challenges in life,” says Luther Keith, executive director of non-profit collaborator ARISE Detroit.

Each child who registers at http://detroit.lemonadeday.org receives a backpack with an Entrepreneur Workbook that teaches him or her how to create budgets, set profit-making goals, repay investors and provide service to customers. The kids keep the money they earn and are encouraged to spend some, save some and contribute to the charity of their choice. That’s the most heart-warming component of this program. In 2011, Lemonade Day Detroit distributed 8,000 backpacks of materials and the children donated approximately 70 percent of their profits to charities – an estimated $160,000.

There are two distinct components of Lemonade Day.  First, there is a month-long learning experience through which a child and a caring adult exercise the step-by-step process provided in the Entrepreneur Workbook. This month-long course has a dramatic impact on a child’s understanding of how to be an entrepreneur in any industry. The second component is opening the stand on Lemonade Day.

Huntington Bank is the presenting sponsor for Lemonade Day Detroit.  In addition to the backpacks, it will hold a Lemonade Day workshop on Saturday, April 28 to provide more guidance to parents and children interested in the program.  The bank also gives participating children a free bank account so they can save the money they earn.

“As a bank this in an important role for us to play because we want the future to have sound financial people,” says Pam Iacobelli, Huntington Bank’s director of marketing, who sees Lemonade Day as an investment.

Art Van Furniture is also a key sponsor. Lemonade Day backpacks can be picked up at 18 of their locations, and the stores plan to allow children to host lemonade stands on-site for interested participants.  Visit this link for more information.

Register a child you care about to participate in this life-shaping event today.

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