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Aug. 06

How a 9-Year-Old Is Using Her Family's Lemonade Recipe to Free Child Slaves

Today's post is about Daily Point of Light Award winner Vivienne Harr, of Fairfax, Calif., a young girl working to free children from slavery around the world through a growing lemonade enterpriseRead her story and nominate someone you know as a Daily Point of Light.

Last year, at 8 years old, Vivienne Harr saw a photo of two Nepalese children around her age, slaves burdened by large rocks tied to their backs. After learning from her parents that child slavery is common throughout many parts of the world, Vivienne took a stand by making a stand.

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With support from her parents and school, Vivienne set up a lemonade stand. In six months, running the stand every day, she raised more than $100,000 for the antislavery campaign Not For Sale.

Vivienne, of Fairfax, Calif., usually set up the stand in her yard, in a nearby park or in Fairfax’s town center. Sometimes, she persuaded her parents to take the stand on the road. This year, the family traveled to Oklahoma, where Vivienne raised more than $1,000 for disaster relief in the wake of the deadly tornados. On a trip to New York, Vivienne donated her lemonade proceeds to a city fund set up to assist victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Wherever she set up her stand, Vivienne never asked a set price for her lemonade – which is made from a family recipe dating back three generations. She just asked customers to “pay what’s in their hearts.”

“I tell people that compassion is not compassion without action – it’s just feeling sorry for someone,” says Vivienne, now 9.

Vivienne decided to keep selling lemonade every day, to reach 365 consecutive days, with a new goal in mind. She told her parents she wanted to create a business that would raise money on a larger scale, to free more slaves.

With help from her dad, Eric Harr, Vivienne founded Make a Stand Lemon-Aid. The lemonade has a bottler, and 70 stores have agreed to carry the product. Vivienne's father partnered with Fair Trade USA in selecting suppliers for the ingredients. Half of all profits from Make a Stand Lemon-Aid will be donated to antislavery organizations, including UNICEFFree the Slaves and The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labor.

“It’s very exciting to know we’ll be helping so many people,” Vivienne says. 

Though Vivenne’s parents have handled the grown-up aspects of creating a business, “Vivienne has driven this every step of the way,” according to her father. Her mother, Alexandra, adds: “She blows me away. I’ve learned to just follow her lead.”

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