Lemonade stand operated by two 10-year-olds nets $100 for hippotherapy program
Thursday, August 14, 2008 By TEVAH PLATT ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
STATEN ISLAND, NY -- TOMPKINSVILLE -- Singing chants to lure in customers, 10-year-olds Rheannon Loffredo of Tompkinsville and Natalie Lisiewicz of Bulls Head sold 25-cent cups of lemonade on Tompkins Circle last week to raise money for a good cause. The girls organized the fund-raiser for Helping Others Overcome Personal Handicaps (HOOPH) -- the therapeutic horseback riding program in South Beach for people with disabilities. Rheannon, who rides recreationally, has been volunteering for the group by assisting with the horses. "With the assistance of many generous neighbors, business consulting from (neighbor) Al Curtis and their eagerness and willingness not to be shy, they earned $32.75, which was transformed into $100 with some 'matching grants' from family members," said Rheannon's mother, MaryLee Montalvo. The kids learned a lot about sales, offering, for instance, a bulk discount (4 cups for the price of 3). Customers included a passing ice-cream truck driver; a cab driver who had circled back after finishing a job, and a family checking out the neighborhood with their real estate agent. Rheannon and Natalie's previous volunteer work has benefited the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden and Staten Island University Hospital. HOOPH, the acclaimed program of the Staten Island Recreation Association, offers activities each week to about 60 clients whose disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, and others. According to proponents of hippotherapy, horseback riding can help participants gain flexibility, balance, muscle strength, focus and self-esteem.