Even though this was her first year participating in Lemonade Day, 11-year-old Katrina Lawrence had big plans. She partnered with the Killeen Independent School District Homeless Awareness and Response Program (H.A.R.P.) to help reach the 1,400 homeless children in the surrounding area. The goal of H.A.R.P. is to identify students in homeless situations and ensure the students are provided with the needed basics.
What if a book could offer a child a temporary escape from reality? Katrina remembers how reading books would help her through the difficult times when she was homeless. She said, “Books are not a piece of paper; it really helps you get your mind off of things by taking you to wonderful places. I really love books, and my favorite is the Magic School Bus! You were always taken on an imaginative adventure where you learn something new.”
That is exactly what Katrina had in mind for other children facing the same hardship when she launched Lemonade 4 Literacy. What better way to mix lemonade and reading? She picked a specific book for the children called Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster. The picture book is about a child who conquers his fears of the unknown. The voice of the Whatif Monster, a small green creature with pointed teeth, fills Jonathan James's head with worry and doubt when he tries something new. "What if it's hard? What if you're bad? What if they laugh and make you feel sad?" In the end, Jonathan James questions the Whatif Monster with “What if baseball is nothing but fun, and I end up hitting a triple home run?” Katrina saw a similar opportunity to help homeless children conquer their fear of what others might think or say about their current situation.
As a child, Katrina observed her mom manage a small business selling nursing uniforms and supplies and knew she wanted to run her own business. Growing up, she would pretend to have her own restaurant and a mall where she kept her store Rosy Posy Hotel stocked for her customers. She went through the Lemonade Day Entrepreneur Workbook and used her past experience of “being a business owner” to help her start a business to help others. Katrina sold baked goods along with fresh-squeezed regular and strawberry lemonade. Her ultimate goal was to raise enough funds to provide the Whatif Monster books to every child in H.A.R.P.
Katrina strategically planned her locations for large events to attract more customers and build awareness. Katrina did not stop there. She created a Lemonade 4 Literacy Facebook page to provide updates on her progress to her followers. For people who were not aware of her Facebook page, she created a flier to pass out at each event explaining her cause. One of her many lemonade stand locations was a local car dealership. The dealership’s videographer filmed Katrina and published a commercial on their YouTube channel to promote her business. Lemonade 4 Literacy was setup for business during the entire weekend of Lemonade Day. Some of her other locations included Sam’s Club, Fort Hood’s III Corps Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, and Metroplex Hospital’s Spring Golf Classic.
Katrina’s determination continues to grow throughout her entrepreneurial journey. She said, “Research, research, research. You need a lot of information to help you run a business successfully. I went as far as researching the product and prices to help me become more knowledgeable.” Katrina was selected for Kids, Inc. at the Killeen Mall to run her business for a day in hopes of reaching her goal. She has currently raised $1,500, enough money for 300 books to donate to the homeless children.
As the summer comes to an end, Katrina has finished her Lemonade 4 Literacy entrepreneur program. However in the fall, she will be starting a new project. Since August is known for Back to School supply drives, she plans on raising money for the needed supplies for H.A.R.P. students. Of course, she is planning on donating books to go with their supplies!