After raising over $2,000 for their alma mater Roberts Annex's library, Sophia Palozzi and Kaleigh Main say they've got no plans to slow down, even though they've long since graduated from the annex and now attend King George Secondary.
Palozzi and Main have been raising money for Roberts Annex for the past five years. Showing particular entrepreneurial zeal, the pair of students first got involved in philanthropy when they were Grade 2s. At that time, the seven year olds were inspired by their teacher at the time (and now Roberts Annex vice-principal Brenda Boylan) to support their classmates reading appetites.
The girls organized a used book sale at Roberts and sold the books they collected from the Roberts Annex community for $25 cents a piece. That summer, they decided to take their charity work to the next level. With the help of their parents they set up a lemonade stand on a fireworks night when the West End is swamped with hundreds of thousands of people from across Metro Vancouver. It turned out Grade 2s selling Lemonade was a pretty lucrative enterprise. That night they made several hundred dollars.
The money raised was directly funneled into the school's library, a "very special place" according to Palozzi. The girls accompanied Boylan to a local books store where they poured through every book to ensure it was a good fit for the library and would support the learning curriculum of various Roberts Annex teachers.
"These girls are very unique. What's most inspiring is that they have inspired others. They have mentored younger students," says Boyland. "It makes me so proud. For me I had both these girls before they read; to watch their love of books and their altruism is incredible."
Over the next five years, despite graduating from the Annex and then Roberts Elementary, Main and Palozzi continued their lemonade stand fundraising campaign. Despite some price undercutting by a rival lemonade stand and some significant production challenges one year that required their product to be trolleyed out of their West End apartment, the pair of philanthropists continued to raise money for their Annex.
As of this year, Boyland says that Main and Palozzi's donations have paid for over 150 books for the library and turned them into minor celebrities at the Annex.