By James Forrest

2011 was a year defined by new beginnings for the Forrest family.   In January, we realized a long-standing dream to take a renewed entrepreneurial approach to legal services with the launch of the Forrest Firm. While this was a landmark event in our lives, it pales in comparison to what followed in the spring of that same year.

In May, my wife, Julie, and I traveled to Ethiopia and Judah Hailu Forrest, not quite a year old, joined our family as a beloved son and brother.  We knew that Judah would bring many blessings to us, but we could not have anticipated the ripple effect that Judah’s adoption would have on so many others, especially his brother and sister.

I’m proud to say that my nine-year-old daughter, Ava, is the latest dreamer and entrepreneur to inspire me.  This past week, she launched her first (of many, I’d like to think) non-profit endeavor, Lemonade for the Least of These.   She’s taking the idea of a traditional lemonade stand and giving kids a fun and easy way to get involved in caring for orphans. Through the web and social media, she is gathering kids across the country to support Hannah’s Hope, the orphan transition home in Ethiopia where her brother lived as an infant.

When Ava came to us with this idea, we knew she had been inspired on multiple levels.  She visited Ethiopia with Julie last summer to work at Hannah’s Hope, where she loved playing in the courtyard and making new friends. She also experienced the joy of the caregivers and staff as they loved and cared for the children. Most of all, she’s been inspired by a particular passage in the Bible, Matthew 25:40, where Jesus declares, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (New International Version)

Ava, her brothers, and hundreds of other kids across the country are joining together to host lemonade stands on Saturday, May 17 to raise money for Hannah’s Hope, as well as to raise awareness about the worldwide orphan crisis. Why May 17? It just happens to be the day that her brother was declared a “Forrest” in an Ethiopian courtroom back in 2011.

I invite you and your family to join us in standing for the least of these on May 17. For more information on setting up your lemonade stand and sending in the proceeds to support Hannah’s Hope, visit Ava’s website at