Brandon was born with a bi-lateral cleft, CHARGE Syndrome, and Autism. He is blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. He did not talk until he was 7. He is excellent in Math, Spelling, and Sign Language. He plays drums, piano and tap dances! He can tell you the specs of any rollercoaster in the world, or commentate any college football game. Brandon loves sweet tea, hamburgers, and making lists. He swims like a pro and rides a conventional 2-wheeled bike. He graduated a high school with a traditional diploma. At 22, the GA Department of Vocational Rehabilitation deemed him not eligible for their services as he could not "meet industry standards". Obstacles imposed by society can be most debilitating.
Enter devine intervention! A stranger stepped in as a mentor and the simplest form of entrepreneurship was born in a lemonade stand. What could be more fitting? Lemonade stands are a rite of passage. They make sour sweet. They are innocent. They invite community. Every lemon has exactly the right amount of juice.
Beginning with a balance of $0 and immesurable faith, friends/family/strangers contributed time and resources. "The Stand" was constructed like a Macy's Day parade float. The hope was the stand, run by adults with special needs, would grow as a business offering, as many who wish, a chance to work together bringing clients sweet simplicities. And it did. To date, nine young adults with special needs have been employed by Sweet Georgia Sips, LLC.
On September 2, 2017 everything changed. While heading to sell lemonade for the Labor Day weekend, an uninsured, distracted driver t-boned the car pulling the stand. Brandon and his dad rolled 3 times. Brandon and dad were safe. The car and stand were totalled. Nothing could be salvaged.
Sweet Georgia Sips belonged to the community who helped build it and sustain it. Our customers are our family. We believe joy will rise from these ashes and ripple out in even wider circles of blessings.
Once again we face beginning balance $0 with immeasuable faith. This time we already know what this stand means for these young people. We already know what you mean to us. We'll go chin up and carry on if you'll help us!
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