Without the structure of school, summer can be a difficult time for youth experiencing homelessness. It is critically important that during this time youth have plenty of opportunities to stay active. That’s where the Bridges to Independence Youth Development Program comes in. We strive to keep children busy, engaged, and active all summer long – and the centerpiece of it all is our Lemonade Stand.
The Lemonade Stand runs two to three days a week for five weeks, from July 3-August 4), in and around Arlington. High-traffic areas, such as busy lobbies or sidewalks, tend to attract the most customers, and the kids quickly develop a sales pitch to entice passersby. For local businesses, like sponsors Enterprise Knowledge and Westfourth Communications, hosting the Lemonade Stand at their workplace is an easy, hands-on way to get staff involved with helping kids in need. And who doesn’t love a refreshing cup of lemonade on a hot summer’s day?
At the end of the summer, the money the kids raise is split in two, with half being used for participants to open their very first savings accounts and the other half supporting a field trip to a theme park. Both events are equally exciting! We are thrilled that last year, 14 kids were able to open a savings account and begin to learn important life lessons about budgeting, saving, and the value of hard work. “The Lemonade Stand was amazing and a lot of fun,” says Abdul, one of last year’s participants. “I learned how to communicate with people, work as a team and serve customers. What impressed me the most was that a lot of people were willing to help us by donating and buying drinks.”
At Bridges, our vision is to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty, and an important part of this is keeping at-risk youth active and learning over the summer. Keep an eye out for an enthusiastic group of youngsters using their very best sales skills at the Lemonade Stand!