This article was taken from the Suffolk News-Herald, written by Jimmy Laroue.
Parker Duke is leaving quite the legacy for his younger brother to follow.
The 13-year old Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student has raised more than $20,000 for ForKids, an organization that helps homeless families in Hampton Roads.
And now, he’s the ForKids Story Slam champion.
During the recent eighth annual Story Slam, more than 300 people heard Parker give a presentation titled, “When Life Gives You Lemons … Add Chocolate.”
Parker, the Slam’s youngest-ever participant, got people in the crowd to raise another $1,000 for ForKids by auctioning off 16 cookies.
Parker was one of 10 people to share the story about his lemonade and cookie stand, and following that, people had an opportunity to vote online for their favorite story with a $1 donation per vote going to ForKids.
Parker got involved at age 6 after his parents, Eley Duke and Nicole Harrell, participated in an art auction to raise money for the non-profit organization, and he asked about the organization.
“When they opened the new Suffolk center, I got to go inside (and) that was pretty cool,” Parker said. “I got to see what all the rooms are for, and I learned how many kids they have per day.”
In his presentation, he outlined his involvement, noting he didn’t initially understand how kids didn’t have a home. His humor captured the crowd as he shared the stand’s history.
Just before last year’s lemonade stand, Parker said, the family auto dealership, Duke Automotive, was burglarized. While his father was dealing with the aftermath, he told the Suffolk Police Department about the lemonade stand, and in turn, they told the Suffolk Fire Department. They all came to the lemonade stand and raised $9,705.
According to ForKids, Parker received a record-breaking number of votes, and all of the Story Slam participants helped raise $57,244 for the organization.
As of last Friday, Parker said he had raised $20,388.46 for ForKids over the past six years. “Over the years, I’ve turned something sour into a sweet, $20,000,” Parker Duke said in the presentation.
After he goes to college, he wants to pass on the lemonade stand to his younger brother, Eley Duke IV, with the caveat that he keeps the name of the stand intact — the Parker Duke Lemonade Stand.
Jimmy Laroue, email@example.com