Unsatisfied with the financial condition of his hometown of Detroit, Mich., Joshua Smith, 9, took to the streets himself, armed only with his keen sense of entrepreneurship, lemonade, fruit punch, popcorn, and water.

The young man set out on July 30 with what seemed like a lofty goal of raising $1,000 in three days to give back to his city. By the close of business Aug. 1, he found himself having to rethink that limit, not because it was too high—but because it was too low.

Taking another shot at the sidewalk business, the minor decided to aim for another $1,000, his prices still set between $1 and $2 for products offered in three sizes. He accomplished that mark by sundown Aug. 2. The next day brought the total to $3,392.77, according to The Detroit Free Press.

“It’s been an exciting whirlwind week, we can’t deny that,” Smith’s mother, Rhonda Smith, told The New York Daily News.

Smith said that her son was disturbed by the city’s financial condition, and came to her with his idea.

‘“Mommy, we’re going to have a lemonade stand for the city,’” she recalled him saying. “I think it’s fantastic, and it really does show the power of prayer.”

According to The Huffington Post, Joshua Smith decided to launch his project after becoming very concerned about Detroit’s $200 million deficit following hearing a radio report.

Recognition and contributions have since poured in from all over the world according to the Daily News.

Trying to help others, Smith may have ultimately learned the best way to help himself. Aside from receiving praise from Detroit Mayor David Bing, Joshua has won the Spirit of Detroit Award from the Detroit City Council, and his goal of bettering the community has been realized.

Volunteers came into his neighborhood and offered their services to maintain the local park spaces, where Smith wants his funds to be invested, according to the Daily News.

He has also followed in the footsteps of his mother and become a recipient of the prestigious Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation. According to the Free Press, Joshua is the youngest person to ever receive the $2,000 college scholarship, usually reserved for high school seniors. 

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer