18 Under 18 Highlight: Aleena Valdez
In our Junior Achievement 18 Under 18 recipients series, we’re next highlighting Aleena Valdez. We are honored to recognize her. Not only is she an 18 Under 18 recipient, but Aleena is a proud alumna of our JA BizTown and JA Finance Park programs! Read on the hear why she was selected as an inaugural Junior Achievement 18 Under 18!
Aleena Valdez, Sheely Farms Elementary, Phoenix 14 years old
Aleena’s ideas start small and become big. “I came up with this idea for selling snow cones,” she said. “But I needed money for the machine. So I figured out how much it would be and put together a PowerPoint.” A$226.50 loan from her parents bought an ice shaver, a banner, supplies and a website for her new business, Aleena’s LemonAid Stand. She paid them back within two months. Today, Aleena’s LemonAid Stand is an LLC and sprouts up at locations across the southwest Valley. Customers may purchase snow cones, in addition to a variety of lemonade flavors. Portions of Aleena’s sales benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “So far, we’ve donated over $2,500,” she said.
But Aleena isn’t finished with her entrepreneurship. She’s also started Girls for Progress, an organization to help girls make a difference in their communities. This year, Girls for Progress is slated to have two conferences in both Phoenix and Austin with more than 150 attendees each.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years? I definitely want to keep going to school, so I’d be going to a university and continuing to grow the LemonAid stand at various locations. I’d like to have it in a mall.
Who’s your biggest inspiration? Amy Jo Martin is a mentor of mine. She helps me, she’s really inspiring because she always wants to empower other girls.
What’s the best advice you’ve received? To keep being me and not let the haters get to me. I feel like if I let them get to me, I’ve let them succeed.