Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

May 3, 2010

Sweet Rewards

Area youth learn valuable business skills and important life lessons

EFFINGHAM — Kids around Effingham were turning a sweet venture into a way to help others this past weekend.

    Young residents set up lemonade stands as part of National Lemonade Day. The program provides them with resources to create their first entrepreneurial venture, while learning important life lessons.

    The process allowed budding entrepreneurs and philanthropists to learn how to prepare and run a lemonade stand, and at the same time, were encouraged to donate a portion of their profits to an area nonprofit organization.

    Thomas Chojnicki planned to give a portion of his proceeds to  Effingham Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS), because he loves animals. Chojnicki hopes the money he raises will help save pets.

    “I want to help them find good homes,” he said.

    This is not Chojnicki’s first lemonade stand, even though he is only 6.

    “We’ve always had a good time,” said mom Julie of her son’s stands.

    Chojnicki helped his mom make the lemonade that involved “lots of stirring.”

    Ashlee Backhus is used to making lemonade, too, but not to sell. Saturday marked the 13-year-old’s first lemonade stand that she managed along with her 9-year-old brother, Bryce.

    While running a roadside business might be a new venture for the Backhuses, helping others is not.

    Earlier in the morning, the two went door to door to collect canned goods to donate to Catholic Charities food pantry and planned to donate a portion of their proceeds to the charity as well.

    The collection was part of the Modern Woodmen Youth Club, where the Backhus children are involved and often perform community projects. The two got some help from the club leader in setting up the stand, where they sold not only 50-cent cups of lemonade, but also $1 slices of pizza. And for the dietary conscious, they offered unsweetened lemonade.

    While Ashlee liked that she was helping others by having the stand, she also liked learning about the business aspect.

    “It’s pretty cool. I might do it again,” she said.

    Twelve-year-old Brayden Aldridge decided he wanted to participate in the nationwide event to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

    Aldridge will be walking in the Stride and Ride event to raise money for the organization, but wanted to do more. So he decided to do something he’s familiar doing — a lemonade stand.

    “I’ve done one, but not for this reason,” he said.

    Aldridge expanded his stand to include baked goods that he enlisted family members to help make. He set up his stand Sunday and hoped to get enough thirsty customers to reach his goal.

    “My goal is to donate $100,” he said.

    Cathy Thoele can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 126 or cathy.thoele@effinghamdailynews.com.

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