Highland Park girl’s sweet success to aid charity
Highland Park, IL 8/2/12 . For the last 7 years Gabriella Cooperman, a 12-year-old Highland Park resident has set up a lemonade cookie stand to raise money for charity. Most recently she has sent the money to the Equestrian Connection, a Lake Forest organization that offers therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults. | Rob Dicker ~ Sun-Times Media
COOKIES FOR CHARITY
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 25 and 26
LOCATION: Sheridan Road and Lakeside Place, Highland Park
MENU: lemonade, Heath bar crunch chocolate chip cookies, and sugar cookies
Updated: September 17, 2012 11:57AM
When given a cake, one must cut it up and share.
Gabriella Cooperman’s parents instilled that valuable lesson on their daughter long ago, but the 12-year-old Edgewood Middle School student continues to deliver on that message beyond her parents’ wildest imaginations.
On Aug. 25 and 26, Cooperman will set up shop at the corner of Sheridan Road and Lakeside Place — about two blocks from Ravinia Festival’s back gate — for her seventh annual lemonade stand and cookie sales fund-raiser.
Cooperman designed the stand; her dad built it, and she decorated it with her mom. The baking is a shared effort between mom, daughter and friends.
All of the proceeds from Cooperman’s two, 12-hour days will benefit Equestrian Connection, a Lake Forest nonprofit that offers therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults.
In six years, Cooperman’s corner stand has raked in $13,000, highlighted by nearly $6,000 a year ago. This year, she’s determined to raise $9,600, enough to cover a child’s therapy and the horse’s expenses.
“When I was little, my parents taught me when you get a cake you cut it up and share it with others,” Cooperman said.
In this case, Cooperman’s fund-raising can feed the spirit of a person with a disability and energize his or her physical and emotional well-being.
“I’m all about making a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “I want to do stuff like this the rest of my life.”
Cooperman has worked the corner stand on behalf of the Equestrian Connection because of the organization’s profound impact on her family.
Gabriella’s 7-year-old sister, Danielle, was born with low muscle tone and developmental delays. But after her first session on a horse more than two years ago, the Cooperman family saw the immediate benefits.
Still riding the same horse, Danielle is continuing to make great strides.
“The horse feels what you feel,” said Cooperman, describing her experience with Equestrian Connection. “I wasn’t in a good mood when I got on one day and the horse feels that and tries to raise you spirits. It cheered me up.”
Cooperman hopes her home-baked “Heath bar crunch chocolate chip cookies” and lemonade does the same for residents who pass by her stand next weekend. She picked the Aug. 25-26 weekend because it coincides with two popular Highland Park events, back-to-back Ravinia Festival concerts and the Port Clinton Art Fair.
She has committed to be at Sheridan and Lakeside from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days.
While Cooperman’s record is $3,000 from cookie and lemonade sales, donations also are an important piece of her fund-raising prowess.
This year, she has also lined up a long list of corporate sponsors, including Solo Cup, Pappas Company, the Chicago Bears, PepsiCo, Moccio’s Pizza, RothArt Productions, The Spice House, ConAgra Mills, Morton Salt, Smucker’s, Alisa Bay Public Relations, Sunset Foods, Guittard Chocolate and Marcy Manning Public Relations.