For many kids, managing a lemonade stand is a rite of passage during summer break. The sidewalk business venture brings plenty of fun, but it also takes some serious determination and patience—squeezing countless lemons, crafting a sign to attract customers, managing a line of thirsty visitors. And while some dream of what they'll spend their hard-earned dollars on, three girls in Brooklyn, New York, had a different idea.
Sisters Violeta Adaime, 8, Nina Adaime, 6, and their friend Luna Hervey, 10, set up a lemonade stand on their front stoop. But instead of taking the profit for themselves, they thought of somewhere else the money could go. "When we were walking to the park once, I saw a bake sale for charity," said Nina. "I wanted to do that too." After hearing her idea, Luna remembered a local animal shelter near her home. So, that was it—all of the proceeds would go to the shelter.
"Our daughters had been asking to set up a lemonade stand for a long time, and we had always suggested collecting the money to give to a charity in Argentina, where our family is from," said Julia Tortoriello, mom of Violeta and Nina. When her husband texted photos of the girls' stand and sign, she was excited to see their efforts. The hand-drawn poster was adorned with animals drinking lemonade (even a unicorn!) that read, 'Lemonade, 50 cents, all money goes to an animal shelter.' "That made my day!" said Tortoriello.
The next day, Luna brought their profits—an envelope filled with 29 dollars—to Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn. The rescue shared a photo of Luna and the girls' story to its Facebook page, and people from across the community began sharing the post and commenting that they had matched the girls' donation.
What started out as a fun way to pass the time became a huge gesture of kindness. "We are so proud of what the girls did," said Tortoriello. "Sometimes it seems difficult to find a way to transmit values to our kids, but look how a simple activity can be the best strategy. This taught them about solidarity and that they can make a difference."
The girls saw it, too. One customer donated 10 dollars without even taking a glass of lemonade. "I was really excited to see that," said Violeta. "And proud of myself."