How a 10 Year Olds Lemonade Stand Changed the World

by Mandy Graessle   •  

It all started with a turtle. 

When entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Holthouse’s 10 year old daughter Lissa insisted on doing a lemonade stand to earn money for a turtle, Lemonade Day was born. Here, packed into a fun and memorable experience, is an extraordinary way to learn how life and business really works.

That day opened his eyes to a way that he could share both his passion for youth and his experience in building successful companies, to impact young people everywhere. Prepared 4 Life [P4L] is an organization devoted to helping prepare youth for life through proactive and experiential programs infused with like skills, character, and entrepreneurship. Lemonade Day is P4L’s flagship program.

Holthouse say, “We imagine a day with over a million lemonade stands where every part of our community gets involved. A day devoted to the future of our youth and showing them how to achieve their own American Dream. Set a goal, make a plan, work that plan, and achieve your dream. It’s all here in a simple little lemonade stand.”


Lemonade Day is a free, fun, hands-on learning program that teaches youth how to start, own and operate their own business – a lemonade stand. While it began just 5 years ago, it has seen exponential growth skyrocketing from 2,700 kids in Houston in 2007 to 120,000 kids in 31 cities across America and Canada this year.

The foremost objective of Lemonade Day is to empower youth to take ownership of their lives and become productive members of society – the business leaders, social advocates, volunteers, and forward thinking citizens of tomorrow.

Each child that registers receives a backpack with an Entrepreneur Workbook that teaches them the 14 lessons of Lemonade Day like creating budgets, setting profit-making goals, serving customers, repaying investors, and giving back to the community. Along the way, they acquire skills in goal-setting, problem solving, and gain self-esteem critical for future success. They keep all the money they make and are encouraged to spend some, save some and share some.

There is the story about the little girl with learning challenges whose dream was to be able to buy something new for her 5th grade graduation.  It would be the first new thing she ever had in her life.  While afraid she would not succeed, she was encouraged by a mentor to take a chance … and she did.  Today, she is not only the proud owner of a new dress that she bought with her own money, but a proud little girl whose academic progress has fundamentally changed.  She is a success and now for the first time in her life, she knows it.  Her story doesn’t end there – she is one of thousands.

Her story is replicated in stand after stand.  The reality is that children today don’t always have opportunities to start a business and be successful at a young age.  Fortunately, expanding these opportunities is within our control.

Lemonade Day is a chance for parents, mentors, older siblings, teachers, and others to work with young children and help them see a different tomorrow.  They help teach children how to approach their business and are given the tools to succeed.  They teach children the lessons of how to spend a little, save a little, and share a little of the money they make.  

On May 6th 2012, everyone has a job to do – whether you’re selling lemonade, mentoring a youth or out buying lemonade.  More information about registering youth and finding a Lemonade Day near you is available at

Mandy Graessle

Consultant, Stacey E. Burke, P.C. 

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