Saturday, August 3, 2013

Make A Stand

I never know who I might meet at my health club. I was planning a completely different post today but then I met 9 year old Vivienne Harr and her dad in the hot tub at the Marin Jewish Community Center and couldn't wait to tell her story.  Vivienne was a typical vivacious and pretty nine year old but when we started talking I realized that she is anything but ordinary.  She is amazing!

A year ago she saw a picture of two boys held as slave laborers in Nepal. The thought that children her age were slaves who had to work for nothing really touched her and she wanted to do something about it. So she did what any eight year old would have done. She started a lemonade stand. Only that stand made $700 the first day. She ran it for 52 days straight. She went to sell lemonade in Time Square in New York and by the end of the year she had raised a million dollars. YES. ONE MILLION.

But that was just the beginning of her company called MAKE A STAND. Now major grocery chains like Whole Foods are carrying her lemonade. Google has just ordered it for their headquarters. Kraft tried to buy her company.( But she said no. She wants it to stay small and focused). Her lemonade is made from her grandmother's recipe from all organic and fair trade ingredients.   Children are going to school in Guatamala because she buys their parents sugar cane. Her dad gave up his job in a leap of faith to devote himself full time to her cause. The week after he quit working they got the order from Google.

Oh and yes. The profits all still go to stamping out child slave labor. And Vivienne still goofs around in the pool, making strange hairstyles for herself under water. And in two weeks time she'll be appearing on Ellen.

I'm the sort of person who always chats with people I meet. And look what fabulous stories I find!

14 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

What a special young lady . . . thank you for sharing her heartwarming story. We can learn so much from our children . . . .

Reine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reine said...

Wonderful story. I love that you talked with Vivienne. I've seen her on TV and read about her lemonade stand. She's wonderful and fortunate to have such support in her family.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

that is an astonishing story Rhys--can't believe you met Vivienne in the hot tub--thanks for bringing her over. Hurray for her!

Karen in Ohio said...

Vivienne deserves a lot of credit, but so do her parents. She could not have accomplished most of it without their support and encouragement.

It's amazing what kids can do if we let them!

Thanks for sharing this girl's story, Rhys.

Rosemary Harris said...

What an amazing story - go Vivienne!
And Lucy's right about the parents - like the song says "You've Got to Be Taught."

Rosemary Harris said...

ooops, Karen. But Lucy's so often right about things...

Kaye Barley said...

Loved reading this!

Marylu Zuk said...

Kudos to Vivienne and her pure & compassionate heart... & a high five to her encouraging father as well.

Deb Romano said...

Her parents sure did something right! They are obviously very caring people and provide a wonderful learning ground for their family. I still marvel, after rereading this post a couple of times, that her dad gave up his job to support her fundraising efforts.

Although I've never been to my local Whole Foods store I suddenly have a yearning for lemonade.

Anne MacFarlane said...

What a wonderful and touching story. Makes you feel optimistic about the future of our world when you see the kindness of this little girl, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story! I will purchase some of her lemonade if our Whole Foods carries it.

martha said...

From my daughter, Valerie Francescato: Lisa Kristine is the photographer who took the photo that inspired Vivienne. She has done an entire project on modern day slavery, including a book with a foreword by Desmond Tutu, and several TED talks. I'm honored to have been her friend for over 13 years now. She is a wonderful, generous person, and it's not a surprise that she is inspiring people like Vivienne. Here's a link to her website: http://www.lisakristine.com/

Eric Harr said...

Hello Rhys: It was such a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for this positively lovely post. I am also very touched by the comments of your readers. This is a beautiful and heart-centered community. We are better off knowing all of you. Thank you for making a stand with us. With our best regards and lots of love,

Eric, Vivienne, Alexandra (& Turner, too!)