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When Life Gives You Lemons...

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When I woke up last Wednesday, I knew my day would be special.  I had been appointed teacher emeritus for a day to a group of young entrepreneurs between the ages of 5 to 7 to share with them some tidbits on how to promote their lemonade stands as part of the famous Lemonade Day in Houston.  But these kids were not your average students, these vivacious kids were part of a special education program within The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital that promotes responsibility, independence and academic achievement.

From the moment I walked in to the classroom at MD Anderson, I knew these incredible kids would teach me more far more about what truly matters than I could hope to share with them.  In spite of the battles they all faced as young cancer patients, my students were so eager to learn about marketing and how they could help with National Lemonade Day. They quickly set the pace for our lesson by letting me know what they knew about Southwest. Curious minds were eager to find out what I did at Southwest and hoping I was the one who got to fly the plane! What a wonderful and refreshing "focus group" they were as they shared their Southwest experiences with me. They had many flight experiences with us and some proudly announced that we were their favorite airline. So funny to have a customer sharing session with a group of 5 - 7 year olds that was just like our ones with "big kids".

Once we established that there are many jobs within Southwest and I was in Marketing, they were ready to find out how I could help them. Their primary goal was to utilize their creativity and artistic talents on a poster to promote Lemonade Day. So fun to see how they took their newly acquired marketing knowledge and got to work on creating their clever promotional campaigns. Such joy to see these adorable and very special kids become "Marka-teers" for National Lemonade Day!

Lemonade Day is this Friday, May 4 at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and our Houston Employees will be there to help distribute the drinks to the "Customers."   Southwest Airlines has supported MD Anderson for more than 30 years via patient transportation, support of fundraising activities, and children's trips.

In 2007, Southwest Airlines created the Medical Transportation Grant Program to assist patients traveling for medical treatment.  Since its inception the program has successfully assisted thousands of patients and their family members through the numerous hospitals participating in the program. MD Anderson Cancer Center was one of the first hospitals that we approached with this idea, and we are proud that they have been a participant since 2007.  Together we have assisted approximately 2500 patients and family members over the past few years for a total donation value of over $1M for this program alone.  In 2011-2012, Southwest's Employees have accumulated more than 9,000 hours of volunteer work in Houston's local organizations close to their hearts.

Please help us create more volunteer efforts in Houston by expanding Houston Hobby:

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