News Column

Detroit's Lemonade Kid, 9, Presents Check to City

Aug. 7, 2012

Matt Helms

Detroit's Lemonade Kid

Joshua Smith, the 9-year-old Detroit boy who earned national attention for setting up a lemonade stand to help raise money for his cash-strapped city, presented a check to the city today for $2,832.64 with his family.

His father, Flynn Smith said his son's effort raised $3,600 in profit -- more than triple the $1,000 Joshua initially hoped to raise when he first set up the stand on July 30. Flynn Smith said remainder will be presented to the city by electronic bank transfer later.

Joshua was given a Spirit of Detroit award last week for his youthful entrepreneurship by Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, who this morning called Joshua a superstar and "wonderful young man."

But the modest youngster had few words, saying "Thank you!" for his award and leaving it to his parents to explain the larger significance of why Joshua's lemonade stand brought out people from all over metro Detroit, from Navy sailors and University of Michigan athletes to suburban grandmothers, to pitch in to his cause.

"It's not really been about the money," said his mother, Rhonda Smith. "It's been about his spirit being contagious and allowing people to know that we all can do something to change where we are ... It's bigger than just making money for the city. It's about changing hearts and minds."

Mayor Dave Bing called Joshua at home last week, thanking him but suggesting he put the money into a college fund. But his family said they're already saving for him to attend college, and he raised the money from selling lemonade, water, fruit punch and popcorn specifically to help his city.

Flynn Smith, said the money will be earmarked for parks and recreation through a city partnership with community groups. Joshua hopes the money will help with upkeep at the Zussman playground and Russell Woods parks, which are near his home in the Russell Woods neighborhood on the city's west side.

Source: (c)2012 the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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