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Although he didn't realize it at the time, George Marlow's lemonade stand in the front yard of his Colonial neighborhood home was laying the foundation for an annual fundraiser that now raises thousands of dollars each year for the Fort Worth community.
Looking for a way to fund his summer activities, George, age 10, decided to capitalize on the location of his house and its proximity to the Dean and Deluca Invitational, previously known as the Colonial Golf Tournament, which takes place each May at Colonial Country Club.
Together, with his three younger brothers and other neighborhood kids, they set up a lemonade stand in George's front yard to sell lemonade on the hot days of the tournament. George's idea was a huge success and after three very profitable summers, several thousand dollars had been raised.
At this point, the Marlows and other neighborhood kids decided the funds being raised had the potential to positively impact the community instead of funding their summer fun. This group of philanthropic-minded kids decided to form Colonial Kids for a Cause.
Every year since then, a group of approximately 15 children gather together to select a cause to support with their annual profits. Representatives from local organizations make presentations to the kids, explaining their missions and detailing how the dollars raised from the LemonAid stand will make a difference.
This year, Kizzy Marco, coordinator of Cook Children's facility dog program, Sit…Stay…PLAY, and Ralph Lauren, one of Cook Children's beloved facility dogs, presented to the children. The kids took a vote and the Sit…Stay…PLAY program was unanimously chosen as the beneficiary of this year's event. The kids didn't waste any time developing a Cook Children's specific tagline, Cups for Pups, and rallying local businesses and community members for support.
Over the years, the LemonAid stand has expanded to include traveling satellite stands, via red Radio Flyer wagons throughout the neighborhood. Their revenue stream also has expanded to include cookie, T-shirt and ribbon sales, sponsorship opportunities and donations.
At 10 years old, Ruthie Mayfield, daughter of Matthew Mayfield, M.D., Cook Children's orthopedic surgeon and development committee member, has been selling LemonAid for the past six years with Colonial Kids for a Cause. Ruthie thrives on the opportunity to find new, creative ways to raise money through this event.
"All of those efforts add up to more and more dollars raised each and every year," Ruthie said. "In the end, knowing that we changed lives for the better, TOGETHER, is the best feeling of all!"
Ryan, son of Cynthia Prince, a member of Cook Children's Health Foundation Board of Trustees and champion for the Sit…Stay…PLAY program, is also a budding philanthropist.
"Making a significant impact in our community has been a very rewarding experience for me," said Ryan.
The Colonial neighborhood binds together for this event and the results are astonishing. Profits from this year's LemonAid stand totaled more than $44,000 for Sit…Stay…PLAY!
Colonial Kids for a Cause continues to grow each year, bringing in new families and community support, all in an effort to raise awareness for causes that enhance our community. And they do it all while keeping one mantra in mind, "It tastes good to do good!"
Thanks to the generosity of these children, golden retrievers Ralph, Chanel, Journey, Kitty and Lulu will continue to bring comfort, healing and happy, wagging tails to Cook Children's patients, families and staff.