Thanks for a terrific Lemonade Day, Waco!

By Nathan Embry and Natalie Ward.

A common message I hear often is “Waco is different because this community takes care of each other.” Many of us have seen this play out time after time, and I’m excited to offer another piece of evidence that this is true: Lemonade Day 2019 was a huge success.

This community pulled together to support Waco youth by teaching them basic business ownership skills. The kids learned many things during this process, like how to make a business plan, ask for loans, sell their product, and count their money. We are excited to share with you a few specific successes this program had this year and how this community made a big impact on the lives of young entrepreneurs in all parts of Waco. Here are a few quick facts:

  • 195 kids registered online to learn the lessons
  • 30 lemonade stands registered online for consumers to find and visit
  • 16 stands reported business results
  • The highest grossing lemonade stand (that posted results) earned $428 with a profit of $339
  • Kids that reported results earned $2,883 in total revenue with $2,302 dollars profit
  • Rapoport entire 4th grade STEM class participation with great results. A principal at the school told me it was one of the top 5 programs that school has ever participated in
  • We had 3 digital billboards around Waco donated to advertise Lemonade Day and media exposure from KWTX
  • Over 2,300 views on a promotional video put together with the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce to advertise the event
  • Lemonade Day Waco (the organization that pays for books and event expenses, etc) raised over $1,500
  • 12 business loans negotiated by groups of kids, 100% paid back to investors with interest

 Rapoport Partnership

Lemonade Day Waco had a great partnership with Rapoport Academy Public School. It was an honor working with Natalie Ward and her team, and to see the kids love the lessons so much. Her testimony about the program is best told from her personal experience:

When Nathan Embry approached me about Lemonade Day at the beginning of the year, my team responded with a resounding, “Yes!” Entrepreneurship is woven in the fiber of Rapoport Academy Public School. In the original charter, the founder Nancy Grayson, envisioned an education rooted in entrepreneurship. That is why an Art teacher, a Technology teacher, and a Science teacher decided to take on this project: entrepreneurship is for everyone. My 4th graders may not remember my name later on in life, the art projects we did, or their accomplishments in the STEAM Lab, but I guarantee they will remember participating in Lemonade Day.

To prepare for the big day, students went through the National Lemonade Day curriculum in class. They learned how to create a brand and give their lemonade stand a theme and also how to prepare a budget, purchase supplies online, find an investor, acquire a $30 loan, and pay back their loan with interest. Students were able to calculate the cost of goods sold per cup and determine profit per cup of lemonade sold on the big day.

Perhaps the most important lesson our students learned was how to earn and manage revenue. Every student saved, spent, and donated a portion of their earnings. Each team partnered with a local not-for-profit, allowing charities all across Waco to receive a small donation from our students. I felt a little embarrassed dropping off a $20 donation, but when I think of the long-term effects of this project, I hope that by learning to give when they are young, our students will go on to give generously later in life. Rapoport’s charter states a goal of growing students who will  “return to the community as professionals with a sense of responsibility.”

The entrepreneurial community connections Lemonade Day brought to the classroom were outstanding. Cory Dickman, owner of Waco Pedal Tours, Waco Escape Rooms and Nexus Gaming shared about the risks and benefits of owning a business. Cathi Davis, from Seedhouse Creative, instructed our students on how to brand their businesses. Nathan Embry, Nathan Sloan of Compass Bank, and Logan Vick of Independent Bank imparted their wisdom about making sales and even gave our students the opportunity to practice their sales pitches.

My personal favorite part of this project was the wrap up and pay day. Watching our kids experience the joy of earning real money and hearing what they personally learned from the project was inspiring.

It’s easy to see how this project helped them realize their potential in future careers such as accounting, sales, and branding when you hear comments like these:

  • “I learned I’m good at keeping and recording money.”
  • “I learned that I’m really good at attracting customers.”
  • “Creating a theme and making a logo was my favorite part.”

Many students also shared about the life lessons they learned:  

  • “I learned that I need to be more patient with my team.”
  • “I learned that I need to speak up so people can hear me.”
  • “I learned I need to calm down if I want people to listen to me.”
  • “I learned I need to show integrity when giving my customers their change.”
  • “I learned I can work with anyone.”

As a teacher, you know lessons like these don’t come from a worksheet. They come from experience, and I am so thankful our students had this opportunity.

Natalie Ward is a S.T.E.A.M. Teacher at Rapoport Academy grades 2nd-4th.

Nathan Embry is the City Director for Lemonade Day and works in commercial real estate.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

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