Girl, 9, takes a stand for orphans

May. 15, 2014 @ 04:29 PM

Nine-year-old Ava Forrest of Durham believes that when life hands out a lemon, it’s best to make lemonade.

That’s literally what Ava will do Saturday when she and hundreds of other children across the United States set up lemonade stands to raise money for orphans in Ethiopia.
The fundraiser was Ava’s idea, and a very personal one. She wanted a simple way for kids to help orphans after she and her family visited Hannah’s Hope, an Ethiopian orphanage where her little brother lived before they adopted him in June 2011.
“My goal is to let kids in America know that there are kids in Africa without moms and dads, and we aren’t too young to help them,” Ava said.
Ava and her brothers will host a lemonade stand from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at their home at 4 Wooten Court, near the intersection of U.S. 70 and Miami Boulevard in Durham’s Brightleaf at the Park neighborhood.
Ava used social media to get the word out, and was amazed by how fast other children committed to setting up their own stands for the cause, called Lemonade for the Least of These.
“It’s taken off across the country, not just in the Triangle,” her mother, Julie Forrest, said. “We have well over 60 families involving several hundred kids from as far north as New York, as far south at Florida and as far west as California.”
Ava was inspired to start the lemonade movement after she and her mother spent a week last year with children at an orphan transition home, Hannah’s Hope, in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa.
“She said: ‘Mom, it looks like the big kids here don’t have a lot of toys to play with or any basketball goals. I’d really like to get them some more stuff. Maybe I could do a lemonade stand.’ ”
All money raised will go to Hannah’s Hope to pay for what the orphanage needs most, whether it’s diapers, food, toys or staff support, Julie said. She hopes the effort will raise awareness of the worldwide orphan crisis.
“We’re pretty proud parents,” Julie said. “This is a little girl with a big idea that took off because of that trip and her love for the kids there.”


For information, to donate or to set up your own stand, visit