By Jennifer Osias
Throughout the city of Tallahassee, residents recently cooled off with a nice, tall cup of lemonade handmade by local kids on the annual Lemonade Day Tallahassee.
Lemonade Day Tallahassee occurs every year on the second Saturday of June, and this year marked the fourth anniversary. Lemonade Day teaches kids how to become entrepreneurs and how to start, own and run their own business with a lemonade stand.
Lemonade Day is a one day event, but the training is week-long; parents register their child online at lemonadeday.org then head over to Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry (SBI) to receive a backpack with the Lemonade Day Entrepreneur Workbook. The workbook helps kids set budgets, learn how to repay investors, set profit-making goals and serve customers.
“Tallahassee is the only city in the state of Florida that participates in Lemonade Day — the nearest state that participates in Lemonade Day is Louisiana,” said LaTanya White, an instructor at SBI and co-city director of Lemonade Day Tallahassee.
Sixty-two cities across the country participated in Lemonade Day.
White, who teaches entrepreneurship at FAMU, said, “It’s easy to make a connection to youth entrepreneurship education to make the conversation at a collegiate level easier to have because students are already familiar with the concept due to them seeing it, applied with action prior to enrolling in the class.”
White says being able to practice business skills helps kids learn entrepreneurship concepts. “I think the students learn more from the Lemonade Day workbook than I could teach in a 12-week semester,” White said.
Lemonade Day Tallahassee took two years to lobby to the then SBI Dean Shawnta Friday-Stroud due to a lack of funds for the program. However, SBI Alumnus and Chairman of Microsoft John W. Thompson has donated money to SBI that helps fund Lemonade Day and other programs.
This year 172 kids registered for the materials that included financial literacy tools and entrepreneurial education. Registrants included kids from large youth organizations like Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend and the city of Midway summer camp, and 28 actually registered lemonade stands. The kids who ran stands got to keep all the money they earned.
“We are definitely grateful for the exposure and the impact we make,” White said.
“At the School of Business and Industry those are things we promote and it’s in our mission we want to develop creative partnership so that we can justify the means while the students are here in school and out in the community,” said Kenyatta Rosier, SBI instructor and co-city director of Lemonade Day Tallahassee. “It’s not enough for us to just graduate students. We want to have an effect on our community as well with Lemonade Day. It’s a unique opportunity to do that.”
Other individuals who play a vital role in Lemonade Day are the student mentors who volunteer their time to help teach the children the steps of starting, owning and running their businesses.
“I make sure that the kids are following the proper protocol, documenting the sales that they make,” said Schneideeson Leandre, a FAMU senior majoring in music industry .
“I enjoy this opportunity because it’s giving kids the opportunity to learn entrepreneurship without having to sell drugs,” Leandre said. “This event teaches them how to be managers, how to plan, organize, lead and control. I believe I can do more in the community, but being a part of this event helps take the first step into giving back to the community.”
“I learned a different side of my kids, mainly my son [Karlos] because he took the lead,” said Tangela Lofton, mother and investor of the stand her kids Karlos and Paisley set up at the Frenchtown Farmers Market.
“He was enthusiastic. He went around the farmers market asking everyone if they wanted to buy some lemonade. He knew all the prices for his products; he handled all the funds using his math skills.”
“I enjoyed having lemonade and I like making money,” said Karlos Lofton, co-owner and founder of Karlos and Paisley Lemonade.
During the Lemon Squeeze event, which took place a few days after Lemonade Day to see who earned the most money out of all the stands, Karlos, 6, and Paisley, 3, won two superlative awards.
“We will definitely participate again next year,” Tangela Lofton said.