By Nadia Chung
Outlook Valley Sun
This is not your average lemonade stand.
Stationed in front of the learning center Stepping Stones to Learning on Foothill Boulevard, the setup is where educators and students have engineered a math solution, small business, summer activity and fundraiser all in one — a refreshing twist on a time-honored summer tradition.
“It started in the kitchen, just making lemonade,” said Anna Hasbun, the owner and director of Stepping Stones. “We were looking for an interesting way to keep kids engaged in the summer and also practice those important math skills. So, as we made recipes, we began working with some pretty early fractions and numbers.”
Her children, Evan, 7, and Parker, 9, both Paradise Canyon Elementary School students, remember the process of experimenting to develop recipes. Evan explained, “We did it wrong at first. But we tried again until we made really good lemonade.”
Parker nodded in agreement and added that finding the final recipe required “measurements, division, multiplication, addition and subtraction.”
But the learning didn’t stop once they found the perfect recipe, Hasbun said, noting that the educators at Stepping Stones wondered, “What if the kids sold lemonade so that they could practice calculating change and work on their customer service? Creating a small business requires a lot of executive functioning skills.”
Starting out with a painted cardboard box for a stand, the students began selling lemonade recently whenever they were at the learning center.
“Our behavioral therapist here at Stepping Stones started using the lemonade stand to teach social skills for her group. And our math teacher, of course, used the stand to teach a variety of math calculations,” said Hasbun.
When the Hasbuns’ neighbor had a chair delivered on a wood pallet, the kids began repurposing the platform into a permanent stand, using carpentry tools and paint to do the job in about a day.
After pondering what to do with proceeds from the stand, Hasbun said they all decided it would be great to donate the funds to local schools, so they created a raffle system: “When customers buy lemonade, they can put their school name on a ticket. Every Friday, we’ll draw a name and donate the proceeds to any school or educational foundation.”
The students at Stepping Stones are excited to continue the fun of selling their lemonade for the rest of this summer and have expressed hopes for making it a recurring project.
Everybody is invited to stop by the stand in the afternoon — it’s typically up and running after 3:30 p.m. — to buy a cup of lemonade for $2 and support their favorite school. Stepping Stones to Learning is located at 820 Foothill Blvd.