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PAYING IT FORWARD: These Audubon girls, from left, Hannah Maves, Taylor Carlson and Alexa Carlson, sold lemonade on Friday to raise money to replace or refurbish the city's old picnic tables at the new park in Audubon.

Thanks to lemonade stand : Girls raise money for Audubon park

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BY PAULA QUAM

Three Audubon girls are getting a lesson in philanthropy this summer.

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Twelve-year-old Alexa Carlson, 13-year-old Taylor Carlson and 6-year-old Hannah Maves donated four hours of their precious summer vacation time on Friday to work a lemonade stand to benefit their hometown.

"The money we make will go to help fix the old, broken picnic tables at the park," said Alexa.

She's talking about the new $96,000 park that just opened up, thanks to the Audubon Fire Department women's auxiliary group.

But the existing picnic tables are, to put it nicely, vintage.

"Some of the wood is dilapidated, so it's kind of scary sitting on them," laughed Hannah's mother, Nickole Maves, "So some of them need new wood and the other ones just need paint."

So when Maves read in her State Bank and Trust employee newsletter that there was a stand available at their Fargo Headquarters for fundraising purposes, she check it out and recruited three young, smiling girls.

"I did tell them the money wasn't going to be for them, and they weren't going to go buy a video game with it, but they still wanted to do it," said Maves.

The owners of Orton's Gas Station in Audubon gave the do-gooders the green light to set up shop at their store, and the lemonade started flowing from there -- one 50 cent cup at a time.

"Most of the people don't even want change back, though," said Alexa, as Hannah added, "You just have to smile, be kind, and say thank you."

That was the tactic that brought in $224 in four hours.

The Carlson girls' mother, LeAnn Carlson, says handing the money over for a good cause is good lesson for the children.

"It shows them they can donate their time and pay it forward -- there's always somebody somewhere that needs help," said Carlson.

"It does feel good because we're helping," said Taylor.

The girls are now planning to present the money to the Audubon City Council at the September 12 meeting.

Next on their agenda?

"I think we should do this again to raise money for a pool in town," said Taylor, as her sister chimed in, "Yeah, that's a good idea."

A grand opening for the new Audubon playground is happening this Friday at 5:30 p.m.

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