Forget PowerPoint lectures and Scantron tests. Students from Amador Valley DECA have found a better way to teach: by demonstrating the money concepts behind a lemonade stand, chapter members introduced financial literacy to elementary school students. They called their campaign the Lemonade Project.
In fact, on February 11, 2012, the Lemonade Project received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for mobilizing volunteers and contributing over 1000 hours of service. The granting organization, Youth Service America, noted DECA members’ innovative use of service-learning in carrying out the financial literacy campaign.
But the Lemonade Project, chaired by chapter representatives Ke Zhao and Melody Huang, was not always that successful.
“At first we had difficulty keeping the audience interested,” explains Huang. “Financial literacy is by no means an easy topic to gasp, especially for little kids.”
To solve this problem, Huang and Zhao consulted their chapter advisor, Ms. Laurie Andrews. From there, the team redesigned the Lemonade Project curriculum to include more hands-on simulations and interactive sessions.
The chapter representatives then spent the following summer planning out the details of the campaign. After writing dozens of grant applications, pitching the idea to potential partners, and securing sponsorships, Huang and Zhao launched the Lemonade Project in Pleasanton once more.
“After that,” says Huang, “we had kids coming back over and over because they had a lot of fun with our lemonade stand simulations—that’s when we knew we were doing it right.”