Teen starts lemonade stand to fund rape kit testing

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He was a little boy with a big heart raising thousands of dollars for a bankrupt Detroit with a lemonade stand. Now a teenager, Josh Smith is back at it again raising money for the city to process untested rape kits.

He says he's been waiting for the next best cause to support since his lemonade stand got international coverage in 2012, raising $3,600 for the city of Detroit after it announced bankruptcy.

"I've still got the same stuff; I've still got the same people who are coming," he says. "I'll exceed my goal like I did last time of $3,600 dollars, hopefully. That's what I'm trying to do."

"I hope we raise awareness of rape and process rape kits so they can get them tested. It costs $490 just for one."

He learned about the city's backlogged rape kits through his mother. She is a member of the African American 490 Challenge, a group of women and organizations in Detroit trying to raise money to test what remains of the more than 11,000 rape kits discovered in a Detroit police storage facility in 2009.

"He always has a heart for people and injustice, so when I showed him the brochure he says, oh my goodness, all this is happening, and a lot of the victims were around my age," said Rhonda Smith, Josh's mom. "And so he really had a heart. He figured he could do something."

So Josh has gathered his markers, he's preparing the popcorn and collecting the ingredients for his famous lemonade.

"I'm extremely proud because he could be doing anything else," Rhonda said. "He could be raising money for himself, but for him to want to raise money to help someone else, that does my heart good."

And much like the saying of lemons and lemonade, Josh is choosing to look at the bright side of tough times, encouraging other kids along the way to believe in themselves and to always help others in need.

"Keep going and never stop," he said. "It can happen."

Everyone is welcome to come out and buy some lemonade. The sale is July 25 and 26 at 4252 Leslie Street. It goes from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the evening.