In April of 2010, my family was devastated by the murder of my 19 yr old nephew Carl. Carl’s day had started out with him surfing and he was so excited because he was finally able to execute a maneuver that he had been working on for some time, and one of his friends caught it on video. He then went to work at O’Neil’s Surf Shop and later went to spend the evening at a friend’s. They walked across a park to visit with some friend at a neighboring apartment. Around 11 PM they went to walk back across the park to his friends condo, so he could pick up his bike and go home. As they left the apartment complex a gang banger stepped out of the bushes and shot Carl three times, he passed away in the ambulance on the way to the trauma center.
Word on the street is that the apartment complex that Carl had just left, has some gang members that live there and that this guy was from a rival gang and was supposed to be killing some member of this other gang and shot Carl by mistake.
Carl was my younger sister’s only child and she was devastated. I had to come to terms that there was nothing I could do to fix this, I couldn’t take her pain away and make everything better as I had when she was young and would skin her knee. With our encouragement, she started a nonprofit called “Mother Grizzlies Against Gangs”, and they had some marches and rallies to draw attention to the gang problem in her town. After a few months, she ran out of money and the nonprofit went silent. As I am sure you have experienced in your own life, it was one of those moments that caused me to take a look at my life and ask, Do I make a difference? Carl’s murder however sparked something down deep inside my soul and I knew that no matter what, I was going to find a way to make a difference in our communities – not just the one that I lived in, but every community, in this nation, and around the world.
This took a lot of meditative thinking – what could I do that would lead to a real impact? I did a lot of research when my sister’s nonprofit went silent, and I discovered that this happens a lot. So I came up with the idea of creating a company that would work with the individual “mom and pop” charities that we all have in every town (like my sister JoAnn had started), and help them to raise the funds they needed to make an impact in their communities individual social needs. In addition; we would teach them how to become a celebrity for their charity and raise awareness and get people in their community really involved with them. We would create a community forum where the LemonadeMakers can get together and help support each other with successful ideas and brainstorm new ideas to raise awareness and community involvement to support their charities.
At BraveHeart Women’s annual convention in Los Angeles, Rise 2013 we announced to a crowd of 1,200 women LemonadeMakers was being created. It is a website platform that will give a base for all of those women and men out there, who are what we are calling Lemonade Makers. Life gave them a lemon, through a loss – it could have been a death, a devastating illness, the unbearable sadness of children who suffer from lack of food, healthcare, homelessness, drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness – any one of a myriad of things. These women and men took that lemon of what seemed like unbearable heartache, and they formed a charitable foundation and have set about helping others. They are trying from that heartfelt place of passion to make a difference in their community and to the world at large.
This base will help them to educate themselves on the missing pieces they need to bring their visions to the world. It will provide a place to create a bigger impact and to collaborate with other Lemonade Makers. We will celebrate each other’s successes, and we will lighten the loads they carry so that they can keep on impacting and changing lives for the better. We will look at the near misses and see what we can do with out of the box thinking to make a bigger impact on our world. We will create videos and interviews, and leverage social media to the fullest extent, so that these Lemonade Makers create the positive changes in this world that we all need.
From this platform we will then create the reality T.V. show which will be televised internationally, as these Lemonade Makers show the world what is possible when a visionary is given the right tools and encouragement to fully expand out their vision and change not only the situation in their own town, but the situations that we all see on the world news every day in our living rooms, into something positive and world altering. I think that you will all agree with me that this is something that we need in our world – the encouragement to be the difference