Instead of a lemonade stand…

When the students of Sheehy Home (high school boys) decided they wanted to go snowboarding and skiing for their home trip, I knew we needed to do a fundraiser to help cover the cost. So, we sat down and talked about some ways to make extra money.

The shirt design incorporates symbols from St. Joseph’s and Chamberlain schools, as well as cultural elements like the dreamcatcher and medicine wheel.
Craig brainstormed the t-shirt design in less than two hours.

Previously, another St. Joseph’s home had done a lemonade stand at our annual powwow, and one did a bake sale. We’ve done car washes in the past but, with the weather outside below freezing at the time, we decided to come up with a new idea: create and sell a t-shirt.

I wanted the guys to learn how a company works from idea to completion, so to get started we elected a president, treasurer, designer, sales manager and production manager.

The young man chosen to be the designer – Craig – sat down and got to work. In less than two hours, he had a sketch of what would become our design.

We took his sketch and had it copied into a computer file. My wife, April, helped Craig enhance the digital file of the sketch and came up with our finished design.

The top banner says Chamberlain High, where our high school students attend. The bottom banner says St. Joseph’s Indian School, where we live. The bear cub is the mascot for Chamberlain teams and the paw print is also a school recognized image. The design also incorporates the colors of the Lakota medicine wheel. The dreamcatcher surrounding the school images symbolizes all the possibilities an education brings.

The Sheehy home accepted the design and submitted our idea for a fundraiser to the management team here at St. Joseph’s. They heard our plan and agreed to allow us to sell the shirts on campus and at Chamberlain High School.

The cabin was only a mile from the slopes and had an outdoor hot tub.
Relaxing in the outdoor hot tub at the cabin.

We worked with a local company that makes t-shirts and negotiated prices for various amounts of t-shirts sold. Our goal was to sell 100 shirts to ensure the best price. With that cost in mind, we worked with St. Joseph’s management team and came up with a sale price of $12.00 per t-shirt.

Our sales manager created a sales folder that everyone used, including a picture of the shirt, our design story and an order form. Our guys covered the campus and school for an entire week taking orders. Our Production Manager took all the order forms and totaled all the various sizes and announced that we had sold 192 shirts. Our elected president led the way selling 58 shirts. When we turned in our order we were able to negotiate an even better cost price for the shirts!

Once the shirts were ready we picked them up and, again using the order forms from each student, filled the orders. After delivering the finished product and all expenses were paid, our treasurer announced that we had earned just over $850.00 for our trip.

We had raised enough to stay in a cabin less than a mile from the slopes!

Our guys enjoyed two days of skiing and snowboarding, followed by relaxing in the outdoor hot tub at the cabin. The best part for me was, when all was said and done, one of the boys said “You know, there is a lot of work that goes into making a shirt.”

Thank you for making St. Joseph’s possible, and the life lessons our guys learn here that are making tomorrow brighter.

Mike and April F

Sheehy Home Houseparents

Boys in the Sheehy Home earned some extra money to go skiing on their home trip this winter.
The guys enjoyed two days of skiing and snowboarding.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 89 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

6 thoughts on “Instead of a lemonade stand…”

  1. This is an absolutely wonderful story. To bad you don’t have anymore T-shirts. I would buy only to support there project. Plus I like the design and what it all stands for. I love hearing from ST. JOSEPH INDiAN SCHOOL with such wonderful experiences these kids get attending there. Great Job to every student there. God Bless you all for caring and educating our very BEAUTIFUL NATIVE PEOPLE. They are truly a very BEATIFUL people.

    God Bless you all, Debbie Dziadowicz

  2. Dear April and Mike..I am so impressed! God bless you and the wonderful work you are doing educating these young men in all aspects of life.I agree with Debbie.. I would have loved to buy one of the T-shirts myself. Congratulate your young men on a job well done!

  3. What a great story and a grand idea to incorporate business principles, accounting skilles, and salesmanship as well as creativity and teamwork in getting the job done. It’s also wonderful that the boys had a positive experience and got to enjoy the “fruits of their labors.” Thanks to Mike and April and for all the support from the St Joseph’s management team – You are a blessing to us all !

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