When life gives you lemons, why not turn it into an opportunity to give back to the community? That’s what three young entrepreneurs did in 2006 when they started what would become the community’s largest lemonade stand, with more than 75 young participants involved each year and more than $200k dollars donated to support breast cancer awareness, treatment, and patients so far.
“KTAS has made giving back to this community a major part of my life,” says founding member Mason Merin, 18. “I feel vested in helping others who are fighting cancer and also in helping to fund programs in our local cancer center.”
Mason, along with his brother, Gavin Merin, and neighbor, Sydney Seligman, started their first lemonade stand out of boredom—and by chance. Looking for something to do, the kids found all of the ingredients for lemonade in the pantry. By the end of the day they had earned $100. They decided to donate it to St. Joseph’s Hospital, and because the Merin’s mother, Kristie Merin, had survived breast cancer, they earmarked the money specifically to support survivors.
Thirteen years later the entire event, from preparation to tear down, is still run by kids, and the three founding members still have a hand in organizing it each year. It has, however, moved from outside of the Merin’s house to Lincoln Center to support its size and the menu has expanded to include baked goods, as well.
At the end of every event the proceeds are donated to local organizations that help those affected by breast cancer, as well as families in need.
“Being a part of KTAS from the age of 7 has… taught me to be compassionate and giving,” says Lexey Seligman, 20. “After meeting numerous people fighting for their life I want to do more… Through being a nurse, I want to be there for patients and their families when they are going through something as hard as cancer.”