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The sweet taste of doing good

The adage goes that if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Three young Merced girls have taken that piece of advice to heart and in doing so have made quite an impact on their community.

Logann Albrecht, Adison Martinez, and Sky Scott independently of one another opened and operated lemonade stands around Merced recently and raised money for causes close to their hearts.

“It is incredibly inspiring to see young people stepping up and using their talents to benefit the community,” said Merced Mayor Matt Serratto, who has championed the efforts of the three young philanthropists. “The more leaders we have taking ownership and making positive contributions, no matter how big or how small, the better off our city is - and these three young ladies embody exactly that kind of leadership we need. I am proud to have them on our team!”

All three girls said the idea of opening a lemonade stand had been stewing in their minds for a while. For Logann and Adison, both incoming third-graders at Luther Burbank Elementary School, it was a visit by the mayor to their classroom arranged by their teacher Daniella Avala that the idea really took root.

Logann’s family has a lemon tree on their property and for years she said she has been dreaming of putting them to use. This year she was finally given that opportunity.

“We just thought I would have a little lemonade stand, maybe fifty cents a cup, but then I thought maybe I could support CASA with it,” Logann said.

CASA is the acronym for court-appointed special advocates. They are volunteers appointed by a family law judge to advocate on behalf of children in the legal system, particularly those in abuse and neglect situations. It was work that was close to Logann’s heart because her grandmother is a CASA volunteer.

Logann wrote to Mayor Serratto seeking support for her fundraising efforts with the lemonade stand and her mother Ashlee Albrecht shared it on social media.

“It just rocketed after that,” Logann recalled.

That’s an apt description. In one day they went through 40 gallons of lemonade and raised thousands of dollar in donations. The donations have continued to come in, with the latest total at $4,261.

Rather than a set price per cup, Logann just asked for donations and she said people were very generous.

“Especially my great-grandpa - he gave us $150 bucks for one little cup,” she said.

CASA gave Logann a choice on how she would like her donation to be spent and she opted for the money to go towards covering the costs of activities the children might like to do.

“Like if a girl or boy wanted to do ballet, now they could buy the tutu and the shoes for them,” Logann explained. “I think every kid should have a chance to do what their dreams are.”

For Adison, the cause that spoke to her was the need for more trees. During the mayor’s visit to her classroom she learned about animals losing their homes when trees are cut down and she wanted to do something to help them.

“I thought a lemonade stand would be a fun activity and something I could do to help the animals, like the squirrels and birds and owls that have lost their homes,” Adison said.

The idea of operating a lemonade stand to raise money to purchase some young trees felt so right to her that she made a video presentation to convince her parents.

“We watched it and at the end I said, ‘Well, it looks like we’re having a lemonade stand,” said Adison’s mother Esmerelda Martinez.

Adison ran her lemonade stand for one day and asked people to make donations rather than setting a price. She knows they went through 75 cups of lemonade and by the day’s end she had raised $1,020.

“Honestly, we were trying to tamper her expectations and were telling her how great it would be if she raised $50,” said Adison’s father Tom Martinez. “She said ‘No, I think I’m going to raise $1,000.’ We said ‘Ok, let’s shoot for $100.’ So, when she raised it, we were floored.”

Adison decided to use the funds to purchase 12 saplings that were planted at Rahilly Park in Merced. The tree planting became part of a larger park clean-up project that was led by Mayor Serratto and the Merced Youth Council.

“It was fun,” Adison said of taking part in the park clean-up. “I made a new friend and we got to use the grabbers to pick up garbage.”

It was during the park clean-up that the volunteers were introduced to Sky Scott, an incoming third-grader at Farmdale Elementary. Sky saw the work the volunteers were doing and decided they were in need of some of her refreshing lemonade.

“It felt good to help them while they were working,” Sky said.

Sky has just started setting up her lemonade stand at different spots around town and she is doing it to raise money for a very specific goal.

“I’m going to buy coloring books and crayons and give them to the kids at the children’s hospital,” Sky said. “I hope to buy 100.”

Sky said she got the idea after seeing a young family member in the hospital.

“They can’t move around and play,” Sky said. “This gives them something to do.”

Sky’s efforts are still in the beginning stages. So far she has raised $103 towards her goal.

The fundraising results by Logann and Adison did not go unnoticed in Merced. Both were recently named Volunteers of the Year and presented with awards during a city council meeting.

“I was pretty much screaming at the top of my lungs,” Adison said of when she learned of the award.

The experience has prompted the girls to look at other opportunities to help their community and with the help of their parents, are looking to start an organization that will give other kids around town monthly opportunities to volunteer their time to benefit others.

Logann is still collecting donation through a Venmo account @LogannsLemonade.