Killeen-Fort Hood area Celebrates 10 Years of “Sweet Success” with a Gala

BY STEVEN GORDON, LEMONADE DAY NATIONAL PRESIDENT

Killeen_Fort Hood Celebration

 

Ten years ago, First National Bank Texas and Fort Hood National Bank joined together to sponsor and support Lemonade Day in the Killeen-Fort Hood area. Since 2010, the input and support from these organizations has led to more than 20,000 local children participating in the Lemonade Day program. That’s 20,000 little entrepreneurs who could be big entrepreneurs of our future.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at the banquet held at Texas A&M University-Central Texas and meet so many of these talented youngsters along with their parents and dedicated community sponsors who remain steadfastly involved in providing essential life skills to the children of Killeen and Fort Hood. This gala was an incredible event, and I was so impressed with all the preparation that went into celebrating 10 years of Lemonade Day. Besides Houston, Killeen-Fort Hood is only the second city to achieve 10 years of youth entrepreneurship. Who could have imagined how incredibly successful the program would become? Last year, Killeen-Fort Hood reported more than $62,000 in profits with $22,951 donated to charitable causes. That’s pretty significant when you realize that these contributions are from children. This article about the evening appeared in the Killeen Daily Herald.

 

Youth Entrepreneurs

Killeen Fort Hood Youth Entrepreneurs

The event was as much about celebrating 10 years as it was about honoring the achievements of our Lemonade Day entrepreneurs. Not only did the attendees feast on a dinner and cake, but there was a roving lemon character, balloon artists, and lemonade stands. For me, the highpoint of the night was hearing success stories from our youth entrepreneurs, including Emma Rose Gill and Briana Liles. Briana was our 2018 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year. Emma Rose, 14 years old, spoke to the attendees about her growing entrepreneurial pursuits, which also include modeling, her own film production company, designing clothing and writing books. Pretty impressive.

 

Emma Rose Gill

Emma Rose Gill

But what really touched my heart was hearing from the community leaders in attendance. I received several emails with congratulatory messages and offers of continued support as well as connections to others who might want to start Lemonade Day in their communities. Check this out:

“I was very impressed with the young entrepreneurs that I spoke with during the evening. I look forward to participating in the upcoming events.” – Spencer Smith, Mayor of Harker Heights

 

Spencer Smith

Spencer Smith, Mayor of Harker Heights

“It was great to meet you and see the successes of our regional Lemonade Day program. The City of Copperas Cove will continue to support this program in the future. From our discussion last night, I’m providing the names of individuals who might be beneficial to talk with about the program.” Ryan Haverlah, Interim City Manager, Copperas Cove.

“Last evening’s gala was a great event! Amanda and Samantha are such wonderful partners, which assists in making the program run seamlessly in our community. The Lemonade Day program has brought many great benefits to our community.” Kevin Keller, Public Information Officer, City of Copperas Cove.

I LOVE champions like this. They have seen firsthand how the Lemonade Day program’s lessons and resources become an integral part of a child’s identity and helps them achieve increased confidence. Supporters like Spencer, Ryan and Kevin are keys to creating the positive atmosphere associated with Lemonade Day.

I want to congratulate Amanda Sequeira, Lemonade Day City Director, and Samantha Ricciardi, Lemonade Day Project Coordinator, for everything they’ve done. They have been absolute champions and amazing partners in this journey. Amanda is also our first City Director to be seated on the Lemonade Day National Board of Directors. If the banquet was any indication of what this dynamic duo can achieve, I have goosebumps thinking about where they will take Lemonade Day going forward.

Back in 2010, Amanda, Bobby Hoxworth, president of First National Bank Texas, and Terry Tuggle, president of Fort Hood National Bank, had the vision to sponsor and launch a brand new program that was professed to change the lives of kids. Over the years, the early success and positive influence of the Lemonade Day program in the Killeen-Fort Hood area has become the barometer and example for launching Lemonade Day in the cities that have followed in their footsteps. Their triumphant successes also inspired Nieomi King with Fort Hood Family Housing to develop and launch Lemonade Day on the military base at Fort Hood, and it has become the model for six additional military bases.

 

Steven Gordon and Amanda Sequeira

Steven Gordon and Amanda Sequeira

There are currently more than 78 licensed markets across the U.S., Bermuda, Canada, Puerto Rico, and South Africa. Our goal is to have 220 licensed markets by 2023. Won’t you join me in the groundswell of excitement and philanthropy that Lemonade Day provides to communities like the Killeen-Fort Hood area? Congratulations on 10 years of sweet success. I look forward to more celebrations in other Lemonade Day cities.

Go to www.lemonadeday.org to become a sponsor, learn more about establishing Lemonade Day in your community, or to register your youngster for your local Lemonade Day.

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