by BRITTANY HALL
The famous phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” is an encouraging sentiment that asks humanity to have optimism and a positive attitude in the face of adversity. It inspires people to make the best of negative situations and search for the silver lining in anything cloudy. After all, if every single moment of life were easy, we wouldn’t grow. However, sometimes this quote is easier said than done. Not everyone adapts and copes with the stresses of life as easy as others. So, when life is bittersweet, what should we do? We should be like Millie and quite literally, make lemonade.
Little ray of sunshine, Millie Layne Watkins, is the 6-year-old daughter of Dustin Watkins and Megan Thompson of Swainsboro. She’s an up and coming first grade student at Swainsboro Elementary school who’s excited to learn new things, make new friends, and change the world or at least the world we live in between those Emanuel County lines.
You see, while small, her recent impact on our community is large and her heart of gold is substantial in size when it comes to generosity. Without realizing it, she’s influencing others to live in the present with hope by simply taking the steps to make meaningful contributions to society by sharing something as sweet and simple as a southern summer, classic:
“We were having a yard sale a couple weeks ago and she asked if she could do a lemonade stand.” Thompson began to explain… “She made a few dollars from it and when I asked what she wanted to do with her earnings, I was thinking that she would say, ‘I want to buy a new toy.’ But instead, she asked if she could use the money to purchase school supplies for other children whose parents may not be able to do so this year.”
As her momma heart tugged at her daughter’s wholesome request, Thompson proudly loaded up her SUV and drove her young daughter to Walmart where she used every penny of her first ever, hard-earned money made, to purchase what she could in crayons, number 2. Pencils, folders, notebooks, and erasers for children that she may never meet.
When asked, why exactly she wanted to do this for other kids who will probably never be able to repay her, Millie’s answer was nothing short of heartwarming. “I don’t want anything from it. I just wanted to do something nice for other children that are in need. I wanted to help children who may not have the extra money for supplies and to also help the teachers, so they don’t have to spend money out of their own pocket.” She said as she brightly smiled, showing off her recent snaggle tooth.
Millie also says that “It’s very important that you have what you need to be able to learn in school.” And while that is, the recent rise in inflation has made that difficult on every family. Though she spent every bit of what she earned from her sales, Watkins was not able to purchase enough school supplies to cover two classrooms. So, to help her out, the Forest Blade will be hosting Millie and her Lemonade Stand today, Wednesday June 29, from 9:00am to 12:00pm to help her raise money for school supplies for the children of Emanuel County Public Schools.
“The thing is, she’s not just doing this for her own school, Swainsboro Primary School, she’s doing this for every school in Emanuel County because it’s a need that’s found within every age, grade, and district. While these other children may not be ours, it’s our responsibility to at least help them achieve their dreams so that they can become good, active members of society. As a mother, I want other kids to feel secure and self-assured on their first day of school as mine do, so that they can do their best.” Thompson added.
Millie’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser will consist of her classic, old fashioned lemonade as well as strawberry lemonade and homemade baked goods such as pound cake, muffins, cookies, and cupcakes. Monetary donations will be accepted as well as donations of school supplies. With every contribution, even if you bring in a pack of crayons, you will be able to purchase from Millie’s lemonade stand and bake sale.
“If you would rather buy school supplies and bring them in as a donation, you can, and you will still be able to purchase from her booth in this way. It’s not about what we receive but about what we can do for others.” Thompson explained.
Though Millie’s Lemonade Stand is one day only, the Forest Blade will be accepting donations in honor of her good cause until the month of August. If you would like to help a child in need, reach out to us or come on in and ask how you can donate to Millie’s Lemonade Stand and we will be happy to assist you. Every dollar and every pencil, makes a difference!
“Millie has a big heart and wants to share with others. We are so proud of her idea and her acts of kindness. We try to teach our girls Millie and Mason that it is better to give than to receive. Millie is truly a blessing to our family!” Thompson expressed.
Millie dreams of being a teacher when she grows up. A goal that’s already in the process of being manifested, as she is actively changing and inspiring little lives through her want of making the world a better place for her future and the future of others as well.
While many of you may not be able to come out and meet Millie today, she would like to share some words of wisdom for the children of Emanuel County who are nervous about their upcoming school year, the new high-school graduates who are anticipating their next chapter of life, and the adults who are leading the way for all our young natives.
“Always be kind and do your best. Don’t forget to be polite to each other and always try to have something nice to say, never bad. That’s most important. If you can be a friend to somebody, be a friend to somebody.”
Thank you, Millie, for being a friend to everyone and reminding us that ‘There’s no lemon so sour that you can’t make something sweet of it.’