Madeline Hudnall, 17, of Columbus, Nebraska, a senior at Columbus High School, has raised more than $72,000 for childhood cancer research in the 12 years that she’s been hosting an annual lemonade stand. She also co-chaired a project to provide bedding for 33 children in need in her school district, helped clean up debris after a devastating flood, and has been an active participant in other 4-H service projects. Madeline said she’s been inspired by her parents, teachers, coaches and mentors who do so much to make her town a good place to live. “What I’ve realized through volunteer work is how much of a ripple effect comes from volunteering,” said Madeline. “This ripple can be witnessed by watching people feel loved, supported, inspired and connected.”
When she was 6 years old, Madeline held her first “LemonSmiles Lemonade Stand” in her front yard after a friend was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. She now sells lemonade at three locations for three days at a time, with the help of a partner, family members and her 4-H club, and with guidance from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). Madeline has formed relationships with lemonade distributors, solicits stores for cookies and supplies, and secures sponsorships for T-shirts, caps, signage and materials. Last year alone she raised $17,300 for ALSF. In addition, Madeline was part of a group that applied for and won a $1,000 grant to purchase air mattresses, bedding and pillows for students who don’t have their own beds. As a 4-H leader, she also volunteered to clean up a local farm after harsh weather last year, and has organized projects at a local homeless shelter, the county fair and a day camp.