When life gave these kids lemons, they decided to give back by making lemonade.
In the summer of 2012, 11-year-old Maddie Mastriano and her 8-year-old brother Joseph — who both attended Nassakeag Elementary School in Setauket at the time — wanted to start their own lemonade stand.
Over the years, their little business gained the attention of other kids in the neighborhood and they recruited around 15 friends. Instead of figuring out how to split the earnings, they suggested donating their money to Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.
Fast forward nine years later, the siblings and co-founders of The Three Village Kids Lemonade Stand held their very last fundraiser outside of Robert Cushman Murphy Junior High School on Monday. It was a final farewell to their now not-so-little lemonade stand as Joseph, a Ward Melville High School graduate, heads off to college.
“It’s definitely bittersweet, it’s sad to see it go, but I’m happy it’s lasted for as long as it did,” Maddie said. “If you would have asked me at age 11 if we would be doing this for our ninth year in a row I don’t think I would’ve believed you.”
The “Spencer Lane Kids” lemonade stand grew into an annual fundraiser hosted every summer, one the entire community has rallied behind since its start.
Last year, over 200-volunteers, ranging from kindergarteners to seniors in high school, from all over the area came down to help raise money, sell some fresh lemonade and donate supplies.
All the money raised specifically towards the Child Life program at the hospital, which Maddies says provides therapeutic needs for the patients and stress-free activities for the kids and their families to keep them occupied during their hospital stay.
In nine years, the lemonade stand has raised more than $100,000 for the new Children’s Hospital Pavilion and Child Life Program.
The siblings and their team went all out with the last hurrah with their fundraiser and can say they successfully completed their mission of showing how students of all ages can work together to “turn lemons into lemonade, one cup at a time.”
“It looks like a big carnival, we got games, we got snacks, that’s what we’ve tried to incorporate over the years, that feeling of fun and happiness into everything we’ve been doing,” Joseph said at the event.
Scroll down for 30 photos and a video below shot by Andrew Theodorakis of Yellow House Images.
Top: Excitement at the Three Village Kids Lemonade Stand’s last fundraiser outside Robert Cushman Murphy Junior High School.