Apr 282009
Authors: Emily Johnson

What do you do when life gives you lemons? Make lemonade. But what do you do when life kicks your lemonade stand off the plaza? Come back tomorrow.

On Tuesday, children from the Early Childhood Center on campus were out on the Lory Student Center Plaza selling lemonade to help raise money for a local agency.

But, an official from the event planning office told them since they had not reserved a space on the plaza or had the lemonade approved by the environmental health department they would have to leave.

The official also said the children could not accept donations at the stand.

“It was just a misunderstanding on my part,” the coordinator of the fundraiser Aubrie Pyle said. “I didn’t realize that resevations needed to be made for our event, but everything has been approved for Wednesday.”

Another lemonade stand will be held on the Plaza in front of the library Wednesday from 10 to 11 a.m. Since donations cannot be accepted at the stand, they can be made at the Flea Market on the second floor of the LSC.

Pushing past the mishap, those in charge of the fundraiser said the idea stemmed from a desire to give kids a part in their community and experience with philanthropy.

“I wanted to do something with the kids that would initiate their involvement in their own community and feel like they are an important part of it, even at such a young age,” said Pyle, a senior human development and family studies major.

Pyle said she needed a project to implement in the kid’s classroom, so she organized the lemonade stand. Her inspiration for the project came from Cindy Sarai, Founder and Executive Director of Adoption Dreams Come True. Sari also regularly visits the ECC to talk about child abuse with the staff.

“I am very inspired by what (Sari) does, and what the agency is about, so I thought it would be the perfect organization to donate to for my project,” Pyle said.

Proceeds from the lemonade sale will go directly to Adoption Dreams’ “Dream Room,” which provides provisions to parents of children ages zero to two years of age.

“Originally, it started out as a resource room for birth moms who needed supplies for newborns and other small children, like car seats, diapers, toys, cribs, etc.,” Sari said. “Eventually we opened it up to the community and it just took of from there.”

Since last March, the Dream Room has served more than 700 low-income families.

“I’m very thankful for what the Early Childhood Center is doing to help,” Sari said. “Because of the economy we’re definitely lacking the resources to fill this need.”

In addition to the lemonade stand, the ECC is also holding a donation drive at the Center for used children’s clothing for ages zero to two, along with diapers, toys, car seats and cribs through April 29.

Sari said she was thrilled that the kids are involved.

“They like the idea of giving away old toys and things they don’t want anymore to other kids who could use them,” Sari said.

Pyle was pleased with the effort she put into the event and its success.

“I was surprised to see how much they understood about giving and sharing with people in need, even at a four-year-old level,” Pyle said. “They were thanking people for being generous, a concept they have been learning about in class.”

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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