Tiny humans learning compassion through service

Students at Big Blue Marble Academy in Duluth are raising money this summer for childhood cancer research. (Courtesy Big Blue Marble Academy Duluth)

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Students at Big Blue Marble Academy in Duluth are raising money this summer for childhood cancer research. (Courtesy Big Blue Marble Academy Duluth)

Take three to four adorable preschoolers. Squeeze lemons and add sugar. Combine with hot summer day. The outcome is tiny little humans raising money for a worthy cause.

Through their annual partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, students at Big Blue Marble Academy, 3480 Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth, are raising money for childhood cancer research.

Three- and four-year-old preschool students, along with school age students attending summer camp, work together to set up lemonade stands, create promotional materials and make/sell lemonade to parents and others throughout the summer.

Children learn how to follow a recipe, measure ingredients and share what they’ve made.

“Not only do our children learn about Alex and his lemonade stand, but they learn about children their own age who are working through health challenges,” said Lisa Tuggle, Big Blue Marble Academy Duluth Center Director. “The children also learn how their efforts help others who are struggling and may not have the good health that they enjoy.”

Alex’s Lemonade Stand is one of several “Heart Projects” Big Blue Marble considers a valued part of their curriculum. When public school resumes in August, students will participate in the “Cookies for a Cause” Heart Project. In 2021, students at all BBMA locations collectively sold over $218,000 in cookie dough with proceeds donated to the Children’s Charity Center, an orphanage in Ukraine.

For their annual holiday Heart Project, BBMA students fill shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items to donate to underprivileged youth worldwide through their annual partnership with Samaritan’s Purse for the “Operation Christmas Child” program. In 2021, they donated over 1,887 shoeboxes, surpassing their goal of 1,250 boxes.

Additional Heart Projects continue throughout the year each with the goal -- not to raise money for the school -- but to teach children compassion, problem-solving, collaboration and communication.

This year’s collective goal for Alex’s Lemonade Stand is $22,500. BBMA Duluth students are empowered and contributing to this goal while developing important school readiness skills and building character development through helping others.

More about Big Blue Marble Academy’s Heart Projects: www.tinyurl.com/BBMA-HeartProjects, Alex’s Lemonade Stand: www.alexslemonade.org and Operation Christmas Child: www.tinyurl.com/OperationChristmasChild2022.