Holy Family Catholic School kindergartner teaches lesson in love
Holy Family Catholic School kindergartner Allie Gurgen’s big heart shined bright with her determination to make a difference.
| 1:12 p.m. December 29, 2016
SOUTHWEST ORANGE When 6-year-old Allie Gurgen saw a homeless man on the side of the road asking for money, she didn’t understand why — she just knew she wanted to help him.
Allie — a kindergartner at Holy Family Catholic School — and her mom, Barbara Lezcano, were on their way home when she pointed the man out. Sad to see him in need, Allie asked if they could help him. Lezcano didn’t have cash on hand but told Allie that they could come up with something else to do to help.
That’s when Allie thought of holding a lemonade stand to raise money. They decided to donate the earnings to the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.
“I gave it (money) to the poor people who don’t have any money, so I went to a place and took a picture and gave them my money and then they sent it to the poor.”— Allie Gurgen
“I was thinking we could go and feed the homeless and she said, ‘I want to do a lemonade stand,’” Lezcano said. “We talked about whether she wanted it to help kids, but she wanted to help the man on the street. We talked about how it would be more beneficial (for proceeds) to go to an organization that could help more people at once.”
They bought supplies for the stand — lemonade, tea and chocolate-chip cookies — and Lezcano wrote a sign for Allie to color in. Soon enough, the two were in business.
“I was running with the sign over my head,” Allie said. “Mommy made it, and I colored in the letters. I sold (lemonade) and then so many people came, and it was only $1 and some people even gave more than one dollar!”
Allie even learned a thing or two about running a business and got to work on her math skills. Lezcano helped her with learning to make change, but although she facilitated, Allie’s spunky personality shined as she took charge.
“I didn’t know if she would just stand behind the table, but she was out there flagging cars,” Lezcano said.
When all was said and done, Allie and her mom counted their earnings — a total of $103. Lezcano matched Allie’s donation, bringing the total to $206. The pair took their earnings to the organization, where coalition representatives met them in the lobby and took a picture with Allie, thanking her for her good deed. She even learned about the coalition’s programs and partnerships that would make her dollars stretch even more.
“I gave it (money) to the poor people who don’t have any money, so I went to a place and took a picture and gave them my money and then they sent it to the poor,” Allie said. “When we got home (after the lemonade stand), my mommy let me eat all the rest of the cookies because I did a really good job.”
It was a learning opportunity for Allie, but Lezcano said she learned so much more from her daughter.
“I learned a lot more from her that day than I think she ever imagined,” she said. “I just wanted to facilitate. Watching her parade up and down the lawn trying to flag cars down goes to show that anybody can make a difference.”