|photo by Krysten Noyes|
Months ago, I received an e-mail from Bangor Parks and Recreation about National Lemonade Day. I asked Isaac if he wanted to participate, and as is his usual, casual style, he simply said, "Sure". We went to the parks & rec to sign up and receive our lemonade stand starter kit. We read through the materials together ... which provided tips on setting your goals, creating your business plan, seeking investors, marketing your biz and everything else that one needs to start a new business venture. The materials were very comprehensive, easy to understand, and really got Isaac thinking about how to proceed. But first ... what was his goal? The materials provided stories about some fictitious kiddos who wanted skateboards, bikes and other goods ... and how they put together lemonade stands in order to achieve their goals. I read these stories to Isaac and asked him what he would like to shoot for ... a skateboard? A swing set? Legos? He said, (and I am pretty sure this is a direct quote): "I don't really want anything more than I want a little brother." And there it was - his goal.
Isaac wants a little brother. He has for a while. He even asked Santa. But Santa was not able to deliver such a treasure this past year. So, Isaac began to take matters into his own hands. He is adopted. He knows his adoption story very well and is fully aware that adoption is the means by which our family grows. He also knows that the adoption process can be quite expensive. And he wants this little brother so badly, that he is willing to put in the work needed to raise as much money as possible. And he is very serious about this.
Where to start? Well, Isaac learned that it often takes money to make money. We read about seeking out possible investors to help with his starting costs (stand, lemons, sugar, marketing materials, etc) ... and then compiled a list of people to ask to invest in his project. I felt it was very important that Isaac go and talk to these investors on his own. He needed to look them in the eye, shake their hands, tell them about his project, ask them to help, and then ask them what he could do for them in return. Because he is 7 - and I was not sure whether he could pull this off on his own - I wrote to each potential investor ahead of time to summarize what Isaac was hoping to speak to them about. This turned out to be somewhat unnecessary. Isaac was a pro. His first meeting was a bit rocky (he was somewhat tongue tied) but the rest were smooth sailing. He set up meetings with area business folk ... and each and every one of them negotiated terms with him and invested in his project. Some invested money, others invested supplies, while others invested marketing tools, etc. And all simply wanted some lemonade in return.
((( This is where I give a big shout out to those investors! Metropolitan Soul, Nocturnem Draft Haus, Giacomo's, Monahan Design, Hannaford's, Pigeon, Paddy Murphy's, and Winterport Boot Shop. These businesses know what it means to be part of their larger community - please reward them for their generosity! )))
Once the funds were secured, we researched lemonade stand plans via Google ... then Halis (aka Daddy) came up with his own design. Isaac and his Dad built and painted it together ... and the results are pretty cool ...
With the help of Brett Settle at Giacomo's, we came up with our own recipe for a fruit punch style lemonade (it was delicious ... and contained raspberry Torani syrup!). We gathered boxing motif goods and a print of the Italian Stallion himself and created what we think was a gorgeous stand. (Isaac's grandparents stopped by during business hours to drop off a punching bag they picked up that day at a yard sale - thus completing the motif). We even had Rocky music (from all 6 films) playing from speakers inside the stand!
Because Isaac was determined to raise as much money as possible, we also set up with baked goods (made by me), houseplants (grown by Isaac and I), and farm fresh eggs (laid by our hens). These were all very well received by his customers. He sold out of baked goods and eggs in very short order.
The day of the event (his grand opening, if you will) was a seriously rainy day. The kind of rainy day that keeps you home cuddled in bed. But thanks to a good friend, Donna Allen, we were prepared with a tent ... and ready for business.
And the rain did not deter anyone! We spent quite a bit of time marketing his opening day (as well as spreading the word about National Lemonade Day) ... and it truly paid off. Monahan Design created our fliers (see above) that we shared throughout the community. We also posted the event on Facebook ... and invited over 1,000 community members. From there, the word quickly spread throughout Bangor. And friends at the Bangor Daily News spread the word as well.
|photo by Matt Chabe|
Toward the end of his shift, a local Bangor Daily News reporter as well as a local WABI camera man dropped by to interview Isaac about his fundraising campaign. Again, he impressed the heck out of us. So mature, so kind, so focused. His television piece can be seen by clicking HERE. His news article can be read HERE. (Thank you to both venues for giving this some attention).
In the end - wow - what a day! I spent most of it near tears at the generosity of our community. Bangor is truly the best place to live on earth. Or at least we think so. And the Lemonade Day program is genius. Such a great way to show kids how to live the American Dream ... how to set goals and how to see them through to their fruition. We were so glad to participate in this event in the community that we love. (A hearty thank you to all!)
Isaac worked hard to raise $868 on Lemonade Day. His goal was $1500 - the cost of an adoption application/home study at the Good Samaritan Agency in Bangor. And though he was very happy to raise over half of his goal that day, he was over the moon to discover that our mailbox was full of envelopes from around the country throughout the following week. Folks who read the article online sent him funds from as far away as Alaska. Friends who couldn't make this opening day sent funds as well, by mail and through Paypal. By the end of the week, he had another $400 toward his goal. Imagine that! Over $1200 toward his goal. Amazing.
|these girls are continuing to raise money for Isaac - such lovely ladies|
Again, thank you to all involved. We will keep you posted on this progress via this blog.
For those who would like to contribute to Isaac's efforts, we will post his address/paypal in the comments section of this article.
Love and Peace ...
(aka proud Mama)
postscript: Isaac has since earned nearly $3,000 in adoption fundraising events as of 2/10/14. :)