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Tips & Advice

The Lemonade Project

While most of us scorn at the thought of handling budgets and filing tax returns, 16 year old Ke Zhao has added a whole new perspective on the matter of finance. Not only does the teen enjoy the intricacies of finance, but is motivated enough to push to a new level of enthusiasm for others!

Inspired by the motivation to show others the importance of her school’s DECA team (a club revolving around marketing and business), she set out to show others the importance of being financially knowledgeable, while having fun at the same time.  What started out as a small idea her freshman year of high school has developed into the growing literacy campaign “The Lemonade Project”. Today, the campaign has spread recruitment to several high schools in California, aimed at teaching future generations financial responsibility.

“The Lemonade Project” entails encouraging younger kids the aspects of handling money through a lemonade stand. After they are given money to start the stand, it’s up to the kids to manage their stands throughout the seasons. They’ll have to plan early, budget themselves for materials, and make other financial decisions that well represent situations they’ll have to face in the future.

In addition, Zhao’s campaign has branched out to her local Pleasanton Public Library. There, she’s launched a “road to riches” program, where each week the kids “travel” to a different “destination”. The circumstances of the place dictate what they teach.  For example, Zhao says, “If it’s rainy, that week’s lesson will teach risk management, and how to purchase insurance against bad weather”. Similarly, if it’s hot, Zhao reaches kids how to manage high customer demands, the importance of credit, and how to write a loan. Zhao not only teaches different topics, but has made it fun for the kids as they “travel”.

Zhao thought it was important that these kids were introduced to financial matters before high school. “I was amazed when I started DECA because it was something I hadn’t done before. I’d never really done anything involving financial matters, and when I started, I picked it up pretty fast”, she says. Thanks to Zhao, many kids will now be prepared for their financial futures, a great advantage above their classmates.
As a message for the youth out there, Zhao encourages everyone to follow their idea, and get started! Zhao believes that finding something that inspires her, something she wants to pursue, has made her journey worth it. “In the end”, she says, “I’m so glad I did this”.