More Than a Lemonade Stand

Fort Wayne FC (FWFC) was founded in 2019 and is an American soccer club based in Fort Wayne. The ownership group for Fort Wayne FC is comprised of successful business owners and former soccer players who live, or have lived, in Fort Wayne. FWFC’s mission is to enrich our entire city through the beautiful game- the joy of the match, the impact of community involvement, and the pride of the people. Before they approach a community partner, they do research to make sure that the partnership fits the mission of FWFC and the organization. FWFC aims to foster a community that encourages mutual respect and inclusivity, all of which aligns with our Playhouse’s mission.

During the coldest months of the year, you aren’t really thinking about an ice-cold glass of lemonade, but when Laurie, Director of Club Operations for Fort Wayne Football Club, calls with an idea for a purposeful way to raise necessary funds for our local Playhouse, provide an opportunity for participants of all ages to work on a variety of skills, and bring awareness to our organization and Down syndrome, we jumped at the chance!

Laurie’s husband created a custom-built lemonade stand that was created with the height of our participants in mind. Donned with lemon lights, lemon placemats, a banner, and lemon hats, you cannot miss the stand amongst other concessions options. All products, including reusable cups, have been donated. All proceeds from the donation-only lemonade stand go directly back to our local Playhouse.

Participants of all ages and their families jumped in to help run the lemonade stand at the home matches. One teenage participant was so excited to hear that he was going to work at a Fort Wayne FC match like his brother, who assists with the sports trainers. It has been great seeing attendees of all ages connecting with the participants, our participants gaining meaningful career skills, and spreading our mission and message! As a bonus, participants have been ecstatic to see DaMarcus Beasley, 2023 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, the only U.S. man to play in four FIFA World Cups, and member of the US Men’s National Team, walking around. After just three home matches, we have collected over $500 in donations for our purposeful programs that are offered at no cost to our more than 405 families!

This is more than a lemonade stand, this is an opportunity to reach thousands of community members and show them that Down syndrome is a diagnosis, and that diagnosis does not limit our participants from having worth and skillsets that contribute to the overall wellbeing of our community.

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