Last year, when she was only eight years old, Vivienne Harr saw a photo of two Nepalese children, burdened by large rocks tied to their backs, who were victims of child slavery. After learning from her parents that child slavery is common throughout many parts of the world, Harr became determined to make a difference. With support from her parents and school, she set up a lemonade stand and operated it for 365 consecutive days. In just the first six months, Harr was able to raise more than $100,000 for Not For Sale, an antislavery campaign.
Harr, who lives in Fairfax, California, usually set up the stand in her yard, in a nearby park, or in the town center of Fairfax. But sometimes, she persuaded her parents to take the lemonade stand on the road—and to expand the scope of her charitable donations. Earlier this year, the family traveled to Oklahoma, where Harr raised more than $1,000 for disaster relief in the wake of deadly tornados. On a trip to New York City, Harr donated her lemonade proceeds to a city fund set up to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy. Wherever she set up her stand, Harr never asked a set price for her lemonade—which is made from a family recipe dating back three generations. Instead, she just asked customers to “pay what’s in their hearts.”
“I didn’t know the project would be this much,” says Harr, who is now nine. “I just thought it would be a lemonade stand. But I couldn’t stop as long as I knew there was still slavery. I tell people that compassion is not compassion without action—it’s just feeling sorry for someone.”
“Vivienne is amazing,” says Alexandra Harr, Vivienne’s mother. “She blows me away. I’ve learned to just follow her lead. When you do good things, good things happen.”
“Vivienne has driven this every step of the way,” says Eric Harr, Vivienne’s father. “From the time she first told us she wanted to do something to fight child slavery, we told her she would have our support. We’ve kept our word, but Vivienne is determined and forward-thinking, so it has been a very surprising year for her mom and me.”
The surprises keep coming for Harr’s parents. On June 23 of this year, when Harr celebrated the 365th consecutive day of her stand’s operation, she told her parents that she wanted to continue her project by bottling the lemonade and selling it in stores. Her parents consented.
With help from her dad, Vivienne founded Make a Stand Lemon-Aid. Officially classified as a Social Purpose Company, Make a Stand Lemon-Aid now has a bottler—and 70 stores that have agreed to carry the product. Eric Harr partnered with Fair Trade USA in selecting suppliers for the ingredients. Fifty percent of all profits from Make a Stand Lemon-Aid will be donated to antislavery organizations, including UNICEF, Free 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,” says Harr. “It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done.”