Person calls police on Denver boys’ Memorial Day lemonade stand

Being a mom can be a delicate balance—one that Jennifer Knowles knows all too well. She just earned her PhD while raising three rambunctious boys with her husband.

The balance Knowles and parents all over the world face is loving and supporting their kids while teaching them about things like responsibility to lay the foundation for their futures. That was exactly what Knowles was trying to do this Memorial Day weekend in her Stapleton neighborhood.

“We have never had a lemonade stand and the boys thought Memorial Day weekend is going to be great weather, so why not have a lemonade stand across the street in the park,” Knowles said.

Like many, Knowles made and sold lemonade during her summers as a kid. She appreciates all of the life lessons that come along with the idea.

“I want to teach my kids about being an entrepreneur and having your own business. My 6-year-old got his little toy cash register out that he got when he was about two or three and he was learning how to interact with customers and about customer service,” Knowles said.

He was also learning about the value of money and practicing his addition and subtraction skills.

All of the money from the stand was going to charity. The boys were planning on donating all of their proceeds to Compassion International.

“We here are very fortunate and we forget that many kids in the world are not as fortunate as we are in Colorado or in the country, and so I wanted to teach them how to donate money to a charity,” Knowles said.

Together, her sons picked a child in Indonesia to help provide basic necessities for, including clean water.

“They picked a little 5-year-old boy from Indonesia with siblings, two siblings, kind of like them,” she said.

For a while, things were going well with their lemonade stand, which they set up in a park right across the street from their house near an outdoor art show.

“They got a lot of people coming and praising the boys and telling them that they were doing a great job,” Knowles said. “That was so good for my boys to hear and for them to interact with people they’ve never met before in a business way.”

But just a half-hour into their business venture, police arrived.

“The police officers came over and they said that because my boys and I did not have permits for a lemonade stand they shut us down and we had to stop immediately,” she said. “My boys were crushed. They were devastated. And I can’t believe that happened. I remember as a child I always had lemonade stands and never had to worry about being shut down by the police officers. I mean that’s unheard of.”

It was a scary experience for the kids and something that Knowles says shouldn’t have happened.

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