“It feels good on the inside,” 10-year-old Ayden Meadows said as he served lemonade Friday afternoon at The Learning Treehouse in Rincon.
He could’ve been talking about the refreshment of the cool, sweet lemonade on a hot summer day, but he meant so much more.
Ayden and his fellow summer campers at the preschool and daycare center hosted an Alex’s Lemonade Stand fundraiser. They served lemonade for four hours, collecting donations to help find a cure for childhood cancer.
“You can’t go wrong with children helping children,” said Learning Treehouse owner Ashley Boland. “This is starting them out that this is what you do in your community, this is what you do in the world. You help people – especially someone who’s sick, and, if it’s a child, you work harder to help them.”
Cayman Sheley, 11, understood that message. When he wasn’t busy serving lemonade, Cayman and his friends were alongside Goshen Road flagging down drivers to pull in for a cup of lemonade for a good cause.
He said he was enjoying the effort to “help them find a cure for children’s cancer” and was happy “just knowing that some of those kids won’t have to deal with that.”
Cayman is one of the older children in the summer camp for ages 5-12. Even though the youngest ones don’t understand what cancer is, Boland said they do know they’re helping children.
“They grasp that (those children) are sick,” Boland said. “They can’t tell the difference between cancer and a common cold, but they feel bad that one of their peers is sick. So they want them to feel better.”
The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation emerged from a front-yard lemonade stand started by four-year-old cancer patient Alex Scott, who said she wanted to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Though Alex died in 2004 at age 8, the foundation in her name evolved into a national fundraising movement.
Boland, a special-education teacher and mother of a child with a brain disorder, saw a story about Alex’s Lemonade Stand and decided to host one. Now in its third year at The Learning Treehouse, the fundraiser is an activity Boland said “they all look forward to” as summer camp concludes.
Any amount can be donated for a cup of lemonade — “nothing is too big or too small,” Boland said — and the campaign raises not only money, but awareness.
“You might have a parent who didn’t know about Alex’s Lemonade Stand and what it is for,” Boland said. “They see it here and then they might be in Savannah and see another school doing it, and it would encourage them to stop and throw a couple quarters in the jar.”
Several of the donors Friday gave much more than a couple quarters, and by the end of the day it added up to more than $320.
Not bad for a group of elementary- and middle-school-aged children.
“It’s just fun to help people who have cancer,” said 8-year-old Nicholes Milbrandt.
For more information about Alex’s Lemonade Stand, visit the Web site www.alexslemonade.org.