By Carol Toler

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Mayor Rawlings and co-founders Reid Walker and Robert Alpert with participating kids

Mayor Mike Rawlings was at Trinity Groves Thursday to officially proclaim Sunday, May 4 “Lemonade Day” in Dallas. Lemonade Day is a free, community-wide educational event designed to promote entrepreneurship in children. Students, under the supervision of a caring adult, learn lessons about creating a budget, setting goals, securing investors, rationing resources and handling money.

“A little program like this, creating a lemonade stand, can start to change lives,” said Mayor Rawlings. “So I am thrilled with doing this, but like any good business, we have to set goals. I want a thousand entrepreneurs participating in this, a thousand kids learning how to make money, so they can have a little bit for themselves, save a little bit and give a little bit away.”

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The Wilson sisters

Phil Romano, creator of Trinity Groves and restaurant concepts like Rudy’s and Eatzi’s, was also on hand, announcing that he and a panel of celebrities will judge the best tasting lemonade in town. The winning concoction will be served at one of Phil’s restaurants for a year – “and we’ll pay a royalty,” he added. Other judges will include Dallas Cowboy coach Jason Garrett, State Senator Royce West, Klyde Warren, Hockaday senior Maddie Bradshaw (founder of m3 girl designs, a jewelry compay with $1.6 million in annual revenue), and Heart of a Warrior Charitable Foundation founder Gail Warrior.

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Mayor Mike Rawlings, Phil Romano and co-founders Robert Alpert and Reid Walker

“I think that the economy and the future of America depends on the velocity of small businesses being created,” said Romano.” This is for young kids, and who’s teaching them how to open up businesses? They’re not getting that in the schools. We’ve got to do it. As individuals, as parents, and this organization is going to do it.”

“What is marvelous about this,” added Rawlings, “is that it teaches kids that they can break down these barriers between the haves and the have-nots with financial success.”

Girl Scout Raujanae Wilson says she’s ready for the big day.

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Raujanae, Raijanae and Rynesha Wilson

“I’ve been sending out flyers to the people in my neighborhood,” the 11-year-old told me. “People will come who want lemonade, but also people who want to support us.”

Raujanae, who attended with her twin sister, Raijanae, 13-year-old sister, Rynesha, and their Girl Scout troop leader, Eva Nelson, says participating in Lemonade Day last year taught her lessons to last a lifetime.

“We’re learning how to run our own business. I want to be a police officer when I grow up, and this gave me confidence. I learned that I can do anything that I want when I grow up.”

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Jenna Hansen and Annie Walker

Jenna Hansen and Annie Walker agree. Though they are growing up in a different part of Dallas than the Wilson sisters, the lessons are the same. Work hard, save money, earn a profit, enjoy your rewards.

“Lemonade Day teaches us about goal-setting,” said Good Shepherd Episcopal School 5th grader Jenna Hansen, who plans to own her own business someday. “How much money do you want to earn and also how much do you need to give back to the people who lent you money.”

“It also teaches us to talk to people,” said classmate Annie Walker, a future teacher. “We have to go out and get customers.”

Annie thinks the toughest part may be getting everyone organized.

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Participating boys at Trinity Groves

“There are so many kids that are willing to do this at our school, which is a great thing, but I think it’s going to be hard if there are a lot of kids just running around.”

The best part?

“Giving some of the money away,” said Annie quickly.

“I agree,” added Jenna. “I did lemonade stands when I was little with friends, and we always gave the money to a charity, usually the SPCA. That was a good feeling.”

The girls agreed on one more thing.

“It was really fun meeting the mayor,” said Annie.

To learn more about Lemonade Day or to make a donation, go to their website here.