Turning lemons into lemonade isn’t just a lighthearted expression for second-graders at Nazareth Elementary. It’s a call to action. After teacher Sister Melissa Gernon and students found out classmate Jenesis Shaw was battling a childhood kidney cancer, they jumped at the opportunity to help. During only one day of school lunches back in November, the students sold glasses of lemonade for 25 cents each. Their efforts and subsequent local media attention raised an unbelievable $800!
But this money isn’t for Jenesis. It is for other children battling cancer. When Jenesis and her family were in the hospital, they noticed that comfort items weren’t always available, especially for families who might not live close by. So Jenesis decided to change that. Along with the help of her parents, Micheal and Scotesha, she is raising money to make “survival kits” for others going through treatment. Each bag costs about $30 to $40 and includes Jenesis-approved items such as warm socks, a full-size toothbrush and a stuffed animal to snuggle close. Team Jenny Bean (as her Facebook page is called) hasn’t stopped dreaming big. The fundraising has continued with the creation of a Go Fund Me page that has garnered even more attention for their cause. Go Fund Me celebrated her efforts recently by awarding Jenesis a $1,000 check and the title of “Kid Hero” (https://www.gofundme.com/teamjennybeancarebags). Even the mayor of Rochester has taken notice. Mayor Lovely Warren invited Jenesis and friends to sell lemonade to the public at City Hall on Dec. 16.