Lemonade is typically made with lemon juice, water, and sugar. What makes Emily Lopez’s lemonade special is one extra ingredient: love.
Emily’s older brother, Tony, has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. Watching him struggle, Emily realized at the age of 5 that more had to be done to help autistic kids, many of whom were not as fortunate on the autism spectrum as Tony. She tossed around ideas for a few years then in 2009, when she was 9 years old, Emily set up her first Lemonaid 4 Autism stand in front of Whole Foods Market in Beverly Hills, CA.
Emily designs all of her Lemonaid stands with autism in mind. She is frequently invited to various events and will set up her stand on the sidewalk to help raise money and awareness for the non-profit charities. 100% of the money Emily earns from selling lemonade is donated to the charities she loves. In 2010 she raised over $1,000 for various charities and has applied to the IRS to be recognized as a charitable organization and is currently 501(c)(3) Pending.
Emily has received donations from celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland! The money went directly to support her favorite charities:
• Surfers Healing founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz after their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism at 3. They found surfing helped their son join our world. They wanted to share this unique therapy with other autistic children and began to host day camps at the beach where autistic children and their families could be exposed to a completely new experience of surfing.
• hollyrod4kids the HollyRod Foundation was started by Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete eleven years ago to give a voice and a hand to those striving for quality of life when theirs has been diminished due to disease or disorders. After their eldest son, RJ, diagnosed with autism, the foundation expanded its mission creating the hollyrod4kids initiative.
• A.skate founded by Chrys Worley, the foundation encourages children with autism to be a part of our social world through skateboarding by holding free clinics, giving grants for skateboard gear, as well as promoting awareness and educating families about the skateboard industry.
In between school and her charity work, Emily is busy on Twitter and Facebook. While most tweenagers are tweeting about Justin Bieber, Emily is tweeting about her cause. She already has over 2,200 Twitter followers and almost 700 Facebook fans! Through these social media avenues and her website, Emily tries to raise awareness about autism, Lemonaid 4 Autism, and alert her followers and fans about upcoming Lemonaid stands.
Autism Facts from AutismSpeaks.org:
• Autism now affects 1 in 110 children and the numbers are rising
• This year more children will be diagnosed with autism than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
• Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
• Total NIH 2009 budget: $35.9 billion of which 0.5% ($196 million) goes directly to autism research and the figures are just as disproportionate in private funding
• THERE IS NO MEDICAL DETECTION OR CURE FOR AUTISM
Emily Lopez has inspired many with her Lemonaid stands and hopes to spread nationwide to inspire more children and adults to go out and help others. Emily is a 10 year old that can teach us all that no matter how small you are you can change the world.
Please support Emily Lopez by following her on Twitter @lemonade4autism, like her on Facebook /Lemonade-4-Autism. If you live outside of Southern California please make a donation and if you live in Southern California GET THIRSTY!