WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS …

An in­spi­ra­tional Cal­i­for­nia girl raises $20,000 — sell­ing lemon­ade! — to aid those in need

In Touch (USA) - - Front Page - — Re­port­ing by John Blosser

Meet 12-year-old Jae­lyn Sa­gen, who has made $20,000 with a lemon­ade stand — and used it all to help the home­less

The idea came to her when she was just 6. Jae­lyn “J.J.” Sa­gen saw a home­less man on the side­walk and im­me­di­ately knew she had to do some­thing. “It bugged her,” says Jae­lyn’s mom, Janelle. “She started ask­ing me all kinds of ques­tions about why he doesn’t have a home and where he goes at night.”

Soon enough, she was turn­ing lemons into lemon­ade — lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. Jae­lyn started J.J.’S Lemon­ade Stand, which has raised more than $20,000 in the past six years to help the home­less. The char­ity made $350 in its first year and a whop­ping $10,000 in 2016, with the pro­ceeds go­ing to We Care, a home­less­ness pre­ven­tion pro­gram in Jae­lyn’s home­town of Los Alami­tos, Calif. “It is hard work,” Jae­lyn, now 12, tells In Touch. “But

when I see what I’ve ac­com­plished, it makes it all worth­while.”

Jae­lyn ex­panded her lemon­ade stand into a mul­ti­pronged fundrais­ing op­er­a­tion. Ini­tially, J.J.’S Lemon­ade Stand sold lemon­ade and cook­ies in front of her home. This past Aug. 5, Ganahl Lum­ber in Los Alami­tos in­vited her to set up out­side their busi­ness, at­tract­ing more foot traf­fic, in­clud­ing the chief of po­lice and the mayor. She also uses so­cial me­dia now, in­clud­ing a

Go­fundme page (Go­fundme.com/Jjsle­mon­ade­stand) which has raised $6,200 so far. (Her goal is $10,000.) “For a girl this age to step up and make a dif­fer­ence is just amaz­ing,” Rob Lowen­berg, pro­gram direc­tor of We Care, tells In Touch.

Jae­lyn sim­ply isn’t your av­er­age sixth-grader. “When I saw that home­less man,” she re­flects, “I thought it wasn’t fair, be­cause I have such a nice home and a for­tu­nate life.” Char­ity isn’t her whole life, of course. Jae­lyn is also a straight-a stu­dent and a com­pet­i­tive dancer. But the lemon­ade stand is her pas­sion, and she hopes to run her own non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion some­day. “I’m con­vinced that Jae­lyn re­ceived a gift — a divine mes­sage that was put into the head of a 6-year-old girl,” her real es­tate bro­ker mom says with pride. “She has a re­ally spe­cial heart.”

That heart has in­spired count­less other kids to fol­low her lead and make a dif­fer­ence. Kid-run bake sales are pop­ping up around Los Alami­tos. One boy even emp­tied out his piggy bank and do­nated the money to Jae­lyn with a note that read, “Thank you for in­spir­ing me.”

It’s been a re­mark­able six years for young Jae­lyn. But this is only the be­gin­ning. “It makes me feel re­ally good in­side,” she says. “I want to keep this go­ing for as long as I can.”

DO­NAT­ING HER PROF­ITS “It makes me feel good in­side,” says Jae­lyn (with Rob Lowen­berg, pro­gram direc­tor of lo­cal char­ity We Care).

MAK­ING THE NEWS Jae­lyn’s lat­est lemon­ade stand sale was cov­ered by lo­cal me­dia — and dur­ing the seg­ment she got to meet some of the home­less peo­ple she’s helped. “I feel blessed,” she tells In Touch.

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