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The Season of Thanks: Turning Lemons into…Trees?

It all started with a Lemonade Stand. You know—the ones that happen on those idyllic summer days that you can’t help but stop for and watch the face of a little one brighten up as they pour you a glass of refreshing lemonade.

Now, my lemonade stands always ended up with gathering up my hard earned profits (it was all profit, thanks to raiding mom’s supplies) and heading to the ice cream shop for my own refreshing treat.

However, some lemonade stands rise above and beyond the sugary desires behind my own motives. For example, CU kiddo, Gloria, had a greater cause in mind, and the resilience to stand behind her idea for a delayed, but withstanding reward.

Gloria started her lemonade stand with one specific goal: to raise enough money to plant a tree. Her $38 profit was a little short, so she used her 6th birthday to further her cause. Rather than request any toys for her birthday, she asked for “gifts that will help this world.”  Her parents decided this cause was definitely one they could get behind, and completed the funding for her tree.

Centennial Park was a clear choice for the family, since it’s one they visit often. After carefully considering her tree options, Gloria chose the Robinson crabapple tree. Her eyes lit up while watching the tree be planted, and she talked about her goal to have a tree that would be able to feed the birds, and about the added bonus of it being an asset to our pollinator population.

Gloria, her brother, and parents got to work on a cold November day to get their tree in the ground and use the winter to establish its home.  They brought shovels and bright smiles to assist the Champaign Park District Operations crew in the big job.  Gloria’s vision is now beautifying and improving our parks.

Thank you, Gloria, for being a wonderful example of love, kindness, and community.

written by Diana Zimmerman, Marketing Coordinator

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