Amazing KC Kids: Meet Kate VanKeirsbilck, Lemon Club Founder

Meet Kate VanKeirsbilck, this month’s Amazing KC Kid! Kate is a busy junior at Notre Dame de Sion High School in Kansas City, MO. Before graduating, each student must complete 100 hours of community service. Kate’s hours of service are earned through her work with  the 26-member Sion Lemon Club, which helps the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. I sat down with Kate to find out what sparked her interest in founding the Sion Lemon Club.

What motivated you to start the Sion Lemon Club?
This is my 12th year volunteering with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF).  Our family is good friends with the Walsh family, whose son Charlie, is a cancer hero and ambassador for ALSF. I’d been helping with lemonade stands since I was in first grade, and now I organize and run a stand each June during Lemonade Days. I was just pre-conditioned to help because we’ve always done this as a family. I saw it could make a difference, and knew I needed to continue it at Sion. I spoke with my teacher, Ms. Durkin, and she was all for it. She agreed to be our club sponsor.

What are some things the Sion Lemon Club does to help ALSF?
We host lemonade stands or bake sales during lunch. We donate the money directly to ALSF. With the money I was given from Commerce Bank, I bought supplies for us to make fleece blankets for cancer patients at Children’s Mercy Hospital. We hosted a shopping fundraiser at Kendra Scott jewelry.

What motivates you to continue your work?
I can see the impact it has on children with cancer and their families. Last year, I helped with the Lemon Mixer, which is a local annual fundraiser and auction for ALSF. I got to tour Children’s Mercy Hospital to see who is impacted by the money raised for childhood cancer research. I loved hearing all the families’ stories – the good and the bad. It was life changing. I support Children’s Mercy Hospital and ALSF, and am grateful to have them, but also hope I never have to need their help.

How have your parents helped?
My parents got me involved with Alex’s Lemonade Stands very early. Now they are always at the ready to help – making blankets, making treats for the bake sale, listening to my ideas – even at crazy hours like midnight! Since I’m the only kid at home now, they’re stuck with helping me!

What are some of your other extracurricular activities?

I am involved in lacrosse, swimming and field hockey.  I’m a member of Sion’s Wii Club (my taking-it-easy club), and I’m on the newspaper staff.  I also work in the extended care program at The Barstow School once a week.  The I’m not at school, I love to bake, then have my friends over to eat what I’ve made!

What’s next for the Sion Lemon Club?
I am hoping to turn it into my senior service project at school next year. I’m hoping to continue helping ALSF through my senior year and help out as much as I can when I go to college.

Commerce Bank and Kansas City Mom Collective are proud to offer the Amazing Kid series! Featured Kansas City kids will receive a $100 investment from Commerce to help with their endeavors. Do you know an amazing kid who deserve recognition for their invention, entrepreneurship, volunteerism or advocacy work? Let us know at info {at}

Jen was born and raised in Overland Park. After going to Indiana University for college, then living in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, she grew exhausted of circling for a parking spot and headed back home to be near family. She and her husband Matt are parents to a 10 year-old boy and a 8 year-old girl. Jen teaches kindergarten and her husband teaches high school, so they wonder how they’ll relate to their kids during the middle school years. She spends her free time cheering on the Chiefs, Royals, and Hoosiers, hanging out with family, laughing with her teacher friends, and fostering a love/hate relationship with boxing. She also loves traveling, Target, coffee, wine, sunflowers and all things pop culture.