Summer in the Village students open lemonade stand for a good cause

Rising fifth-grade students in Elon's Summer in the Village program raised more than $1,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Alamance County, with the help of an anonymous donor. 

Any successful business takes teamwork.

​It takes someone producing a product, someone else marketing the product, and someone else keeping track of finances. In the case of one Elon business, those manufacturers, marketers and accountants, haven't finished elementary school, yet. 

Thursday, the rising fifth-grade students of Elon's Summer in the Village program hosted a charity lemonade stand. They planned the stand, made the lemonade, and sold it in front of Lindner Hall in the Lambert Academic Village.

The stand attracted a steady flow of other Village Project students, Elon faculty and staff. The group even got to meet Elon President Connie Ledoux Book.

“It’s fantastic to see the Elon community come out and support the kids the way they do,” said Assistant Professor of Economics Brandon Sheridan.

Sheridan advised the fifth-graders, who based their lemonade stand on the book “Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinaire – The Lemonade Escapade,” a story about a boy who starts a lemonade stand on his quest to become a millionaire.

​The project’s goal was to teach students financial literacy.

"It’s tremendous," Sheridan said. "It’s something very hands-on. It’s something where we don’t just have to talk to the kids and talk at them about these types of concepts. They can see very clearly, ‘here’s what it cost us to put on this lemonade stand, here’s the money we made.’"

The fifth-graders also selected the charity to receive the proceeds from the lemonade stand: the Boys & Girls Club of Alamance County.

​The students raised $518 with the stand, and thanks to an anonymous donor – as well as a few late donations – the lemonade stand raised $1,066 for the Boys & Girls Club Thursday. That number  outpaced last year's total of $750, which students donated to Allied Churches of Alamance County. 

"It feels really good because I know that I'm giving to a good charity," said Kayleb Dye, a rising fifth-grader at Morehead Elementary in Greensboro. 

Summer in the Village is one of six programs in Elon's "It Takes A Village" Project, which operates out of the university’s Center for Access and Success. The program takes a collaborative approach to assist local students with reading, mathematics and other academic areas. The students and their parents meet with Elon students and trained community volunteers for weekly tutoring sessions on campus.

Jean Rattigan-Rohr, vice president for access and success and professor of education, introduced the idea in 2008.

"It started as a class I taught in the School of Education on how to teach students who struggle with reading," Rattigan-Rohr said. "I wasn't happy the first time I taught the class because I thought that, in order for our pre-service teachers to understand how students struggle and why students struggle, they really needed to see; they couldn't just read it in a book." 

The next time Rattigan-Rohr taught the course, she brought some of the area's struggling readers, as well as their parents, to work with student mentors at Elon.

The first year, 16 third-grade students and their parents took part in the first Village Project program. Eleven years later, the project serves more than 400 students from pre-K to the 12th grade. The project includes sessions with Elon tutors in the fall, spring and summer.

​For the 200 students of this year’s Summer in the Village, reading wasn't the only focus of the nearly two-week summer camp. Students also learned about this year's overarching theme: kindness.

Some of the students constructed a kindness quilt, others placed kindness stones around campus, and many were able to apply the lessons immediately.  

"I like helping people," Dye said "Like, inside today, I told a lady about the lemonade stand, and I didn't know if she had any money, so I offered to give her money so she could buy lemonade." 

For the faculty who are heavily invested in the project, these outcomes are exactly what they hope to see. 

"That's what we aim for: to create an environment where rich, wonderful, enriching learning takes place, and children are happy to be involved in it," Rattigan-Rohr said. 

For more information about the “It Takes a Village” Project, click here.