This 18-year-old is showing kids how to save the world, one small project at a time.
True
L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth

When Lulu Cerone was growing up, her family had a lemon tree in their backyard.  So, naturally, she set up lots of lemonade stands.

At first, she and her friends would use the money to buy little pleasures, like toys or candy. But when Lulu turned seven, she decided to do something more significant. Instead of spending their lemonade money, Lulu and her friends gave it to a local dog shelter, which upped the ante on their simple pastime in a big way.

"We realized that adding an element of social good to this social activity not only helped some dogs, it made it way more fun and meaningful," writes Lulu in an email.


My first lemonade stand for charity. With Erin and Kaitlyn. MLK Day of Service 2009

Posted by Lemon:AID Warriors on Thursday, July 4, 2013

But that was just the beginning.

Soon after, Lulu started researching other causes and stumbled upon Blood:Water — a nonprofit that seeks to end the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. On their website, she learned that $1 can provide one person in Africa with clean water for an entire year.

"It never occurred to me that people didn't have access to water — a basic human need I totally took for granted," Lulu writes.

What hit her hardest was that girls her age had to walk miles just to get water that was dirty and might make them sick while the boys went to school.

So Lulu's lemonade stand profits started going toward providing clean water to people in Africa. Then, in 2010, the philanthropic game changed again.

When Haiti was struck by that devastating earthquake, Lulu and her friends decided to throw down a boys-versus-girls fundraising competition for Lulu's entire fifth-grade class. The idea was so catchy, it grew to other nearby schools, and soon they were getting donations from all over the city. After just two weeks, they had collected over $4,000.

The girls' fundraising team. Photo by Renee Bowen.

The experience was so exciting and unifying, the kids were chomping at the bit for more.

"This event showed us how empowering it was to realize that we already had the skills to create tangible good in the world," Lulu explains. "We didn't have to wait till we were adults."

And like that, her nonprofit, LemonAID Warriors, was born.

LemonAID Warriors provides teens and young adults with the tools they need to infuse social good efforts into their social lives.

Since there's no shortage of causes that need attention today, they're constantly offering new and exciting ways to lend a hand. It all started with Lulu's concept of a PhilanthroParty, which is essentially a social gathering centered around a social good concept.

One of Lulu's (center) PhilanthroParties. Photo by Renee Bowen.

The projects they supported in March 2018 include completing a dormitory at an orphanage in Tijuana and designing shirts for the March for Our Lives. Their ongoing work includes providing scholarships for children at a school in Zimbabwe and, of course, funding sustainable, clean water, hygiene, and sanitation projects with Blood:Water, which is now their partner.  

What started out as a lemonade stand has grown into a wildly successful nonprofit that's raised over $150,000 for people in need. And Lulu's activism is the keystone of it all.

Lulu visiting a school in Uganda. Photo by Renee Bowen.

At age 13, she was sharing social good action plans with the heads of Mattel. Soon after, she flew to Uganda to visit some of the water projects the Warriors helped fund. At 15, she won a Nickelodeon Halo Award and wrote her first book, "PhilanthroParties! A Party-Planning Guide for Kids Who Want to Give Back." Now, at 18, she's one of L'Oreal Paris' Women of Worth honorees.

There's no telling what other amazing things this world's going to see from Lulu Cerone.

Photo via L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth.

But for Lulu, it all comes back to inspiring her peers and the next generation to take up the gauntlet of this grassroots-style activism.

"I feel we will be most effective if we are able to implement simple, realistic habits that make social-good a routine in our lives," Lulu explains. "My grassroots method doesn't add to your busy life — it turns what's already on your calendar into a chance to become an agent of change."

Starting with small, manageable actions is how Lulu got to be where she is today. It's these little, bold steps that lead to gigantic accomplishments. She also suggests looking to a mentor to help guide you. It's about following good examples and then, when you feel like you have guidance of your own to offer, giving back to those coming up behind you.

Speaking of which, Lulu's 14-year-old mentee, Madi Stein, is now the president of LemonAID Warriors. It just goes to show that you never know where social good pursuits might lead you.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States set an incredibly ugly example for the nation's youth.

We know how it's affected the national discourse of regular adults. But there's no denying the conduct of a president impacts how children around the world see the example being set for them. Every day for the past four years, children have been subjected to the behavior of a divisive figure that many of their parents chose to exalt to the most powerful office in the world.

Sure, adults can make excuses for him saying he's an "imperfect messenger" or that they "didn't vote for him to be reverend," but these are all just ways to rationalize voting for a man with zero character. What a message to send to children: Act awful and you'll be handsomely rewarded.

But what if you took away the "Trump" name and examined the character traits of him as an ordinary person? More specifically, what if your daughter came to you and said this was the kind of person she was planning to date? Well, one MAGA family found out and the results are funny, insightful and quite revealing about how we somehow hold our leaders to different and lower standards than we expect from ourselves in our day to day lives.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

Keep Reading Show less

"I cried, and I'm not even American!" That's one of the thousands of comments posted on the newest Black Eyed Peas video, which has been viewed more than 28 million times in one week on YouTube. "THE LOVE" with Jennifer Hudson and Black Eyed Peas was produced by will.i.am and it might be the most powerful campaign-ad-that's-not-actually-a-campaign-ad that's ever been made.

The video is a remake of the Black Eyed Peas' popular song "Where is the Love," but with revised lyrics and a powerful opening of Jennifer Hudson singing along with Joe Biden's DNC speech. As Biden recalls the events of Charlottesville, the video shows clips of news coverage from three years ago, followed by the prayerful chorus, "Father, father, father help us. Send some guidance from above, because people got me, got me, questioning, 'Where is the love?'" Soon will.i.am comes in rapping about the hatred in the world today, we see more of Biden's words backed up by the music, and the effect of the whole thing is just deeply moving.

Keep Reading Show less