When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And when life gives our St. Joseph transitional-kindergarten and four-year-old preschool students a worthy cause, they sell lemonade.

And lollipops.

“The Lemonade Stand is an annual event,” TK and preschool teacher Aimee Downey said. “It goes along with our curriculum when we work on the letter L. We always donate our money to a cause or family.”

“It is a great way to help the kids learn how to help others,” preschool teacher Kelly Francisco said.

This year there was a cause and a family.

The preschool sold lemonade and lollipops to the middle school students to help purchase bullet-proof vests for police and military dogs.

“They are such a great group of kids who love helping others,” Mrs. Francisco said. “All week long they kept asking, ‘How many more days until the Lemonade Stand?’ They understood that we were raising money to help keep animals safe.”

St. Joseph Middle School staff helped the preschool spread the word.

“We always have a great turn out,” Mrs. Francisco said. “Both the middle school staff and students have always been super supportive and always participated.”

The preschoolers raised $110, the last $30 of which came from an anonymous donor who purchased lemonade and lollipops for any student without money.

The TK sold lemonade to the elementary students to help the Quispe Family, whose fifth-grade son Yanaq is battling Leukemia.

“The Quispe Family have been longtime supporters of our school,” Mrs. Downey. “They are just a great family. Anything we can do to help is greatly appreciated by the family.”

Mrs. Downey and TK teacher Caroline Greenman were careful when telling the children about Yanaq.

“We did explain to the children that Yanaq is ill and needs some cheering up, but we did not go into all of the detail,” Mrs. Downey said. “They really are a kind group of children. One little girl said, ‘Yes, like maybe a special toy for him.’ They have awesome faith and pray for Yanaq daily.”

The Lemonade Stand blends well with the TK’s other service project – Thoughtful Thursday.

“Each Thursday we decide to give someone some extra support and love,” Mrs. Downey said. “Sometimes it’s people we know, and sometimes we don’t know them.”

The day of the big sale was big fun.

“Some of the kids were chanting, ‘Lemonade for sale!’,” Mrs. Greenman said. “Amiee and I poured the lemonade into the cups, and our kiddos would take one and deliver it. They were so excited doing this that some would try cutting to get back to the front of the line quicker.”

Their efforts raised $222 for the Quispe Family.

“We are teaching service, and they are learning that one of [their] jobs is to serve others,” Mrs. Downey said. “I hope it’s a lesson that will continue throughout their lifetime.”

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Questions? Call Cathy Erskine at 269.963.1131