AURORA – Seven-year-old Aubrey Dearman is thinking big. She wants to help raise money to build Reflection Memorial Garden to honor the Aurora theater shooting victims. Her fundraising idea was to open a lemonade stand.
**UPDATE: On Saturday, Aubrey's mom Heather Dearman says the lemonade stand raised $7236.01 for the beautification that will be needed for the Reflection Memorial Garden in Aurora.**
She called it "Lemonade for Soul."
"I thought it would be a great name, so it can really bring up a picture in their mind of what it was about," Aubrey said.
Aubrey's enthusiasm is infectious. Her belief in success is unwavering and her altruism impressive.
"I think it's great that I'm actually doing this for other people," Aubrey said. "Not only my family, other people, too."
Aubrey has a special personal connection to the tragedy.
The youngest victim of the Aurora massacre was her cousin, 6-year-old Veronica Moser Sullivan.
"She was just a great cousin to me. I remember her as a very special person," Aubrey said.
Aubrey overheard her mom Heather Dearman talk about the need to raise money for the memorial garden. That's when Aubrey suggested having a lemonade stand.
Charging only $1 for a glass of lemonade or iced tea, Aubrey hopes she can raise enough for the big project. But in case it isn't, she has a plan.
"I guess I would be a little sad that my plan kind of failed a little bit, but I think it would be nice to actually every try at all," Aubrey said.
"I would've been proud of her if she only raised $5," Aubrey's mom Heather said. "To me, it was important that she learned the lesson, that she's helping people and that means a lot. No matter how much money you raise, it's all about the love."
Heather said, at first, she wasn't sure how many people would come or how the family would make enough lemonade to serve everyone. But then, it all fell into place.
Good Times is donating lemonade. McAlister's Deli is donating iced tea and the owner of Nick's Garden is providing the place for the stand.
Aubrey will operate the lemonade stand Saturday, Sept. 5, at Nick's Garden at 2001 S. Chambers Rd. in Aurora from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The City of Aurora will be constructing the garden. The work will begin in 2016. The money Aubrey is raising will help provide enhancements to the garden, such as artwork, benches and other features to honor those lost. So far, $45,000 has been raised for that purpose. The city says there is no set budget for how much more could be needed.
To donate to the memorial fund, visit https://npo.justgive.org/720Memorial.
Her 6-year-old cousin Veronica wanted to become a police officer when she grew up. On Saturday at 10 a.m., Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz will posthumously swear her in as an honorary Aurora police officer.
(© 2015 KUSA)