The Connetquot Kids Club held their own Alex’s Lemonade Stand on June 4 and 6, selling lemonade for an hour after school on each day to fight childhood cancer. Hosted by Connetquot special education teacher Crystal Ann Chiari and social worker Vivian VanKoolwijk, the event raised $640.21 for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
, to aid children with cancer. The charity’s goals include raising awareness of childhood cancer causes, funding research on new treatments and cures, and encouraging children to get involved in the effort against the disease.
The lemonade project began during sessions of the Kids Club, a program held throughout the year by Chiari and VanKoolwijk.
“Vivian and I worked with the students in the general education classes and students with special needs to build social skills, build friendships and practice using these skills in and outside of school,” explained Chiari. “The students in the general education classes were fourth- and fifth-graders that Vivian trained and mentored so that they were aware of the skills that we were working on – of various disabilities and how to interact, prompt and redirect the students with special needs. All the students created many social skills and friendships. It was great to see them in the hallways, assemblies and lunchroom interacting. Connetquot has amazing students that are caring and accepting of everyone, and the students have really grown together.”
During the Kids Club’s final session of 2011-2012, the students used the various skills they had worked on to learn about Alex's Foundation and ways they could help, and then create their lemonade stand, making posters, painting the stands and selling the refreshing drinks. “All of the students could not wait to open the stand,” said Chiari. “Vivian and I are so proud of the students and amazed that they far surpassed their goal of 100 dollars.”