SHAWNEE — Life gave Vivienne Harr lemons so she made “lemon-aid.”
The 9-year-old girl was in Woodland Park on Friday afternoon selling lemonade to passers-by and families, with donations going to help Shawnee tornado victims. Vivienne's stand was part of a Shawnee Youth Coalition fun day for children affected by the tornadoes.
She saw the tornado damage on television at home in Fairfax, Calif., and decided to bring her stand to Oklahoma.
“My wife and I were watching the coverage and she came down and asked ‘what's happening,' said Eric Harr, her father. “We showed her what happened. She looked at the computer for about a minute and said ‘we need to make a stand for these people.'”
Vivienne is no stranger to making a stand. She and her father founded the Make a Stand company after her daily lemonade stand began bringing in thousands of dollars to aid people in distress. The price of the lemonade is up to the customer, and some of the donations are quite large.
On Friday afternoon, among carnival booths, face painting and a hot dog cookout, Vivienne sold more than $3,000 worth of homemade lemonade. The money went to the Pottawatomie County United Way.
Other young people involved in the youth coalition have also decided to set up lemonade stands to help in the relief effort.
“She kind of sparked our kids,” said Jon Greenwood, who helps with the coalition.
Thursday, Vivienne went with her family and the Shawnee Youth Coalition to volunteer in Moore. She helped an elderly couple move debris in the yard to the curb because the couple couldn't do it themselves.
“We heard about the tornado, and we were very sad so we wanted to come here and help the people and do what we could,” Vivienne said.
She is also on a campaign to fight child slavery.
“We've been dealing in hurricanes and tornadoes and child slavery but it all has a common thread, which is, you make a stand and when you make a stand other people do and then it grows,” Harr said.
A year of stands
Vivienne began her lemonade fundraising a year ago after seeing a photo of two Nepalese child slaves and deciding she had to do something. She had a goal to raise $100,000 to be split among five different organizations to free child slaves across the world. She hit that goal but wasn't satisfied.
She decided instead to continue her routine of setting up her lemonade stand once a day every day for one year. Shawnee was day 355. After her 365 days are up, Vivienne will fly to Nepal to meet the two boys in the photo that prompted her cause. When she returns, she will still have her lemonade stand but not every day.
“I think of myself as a normal kid wanting to help people … well, change the world,” Vivienne said.