LaGRANGE — A second grader at Hillcrest Elementary School gave all of her hard-earned money Friday to help children with learning differences.
Caroline Brown, 7, presented John Cipolla, head master of Discovery Cottage at Lafayette Christian School, with a check for $200.
Discovery Cottage opened in the fall of 2015 as a part of the LCS campus. The new school assists students who may have learning differences or developmental delays with academics, sensory-cognitive abilities and social skills.
Katie Brown, Caroline’s mom, said the 7 year old came up with the idea to donate money while visiting her aunts in Chicago over spring break.
Katie Brown said one of her sisters thought it would be fun to set up a “foundation” for Caroline. The 7 year old was tasked with finding three places where she would want to donate money, research them and present the information to her aunt.
“Caroline was the trustee and she had to pitch her ideas to Kim (her aunt). So she really had to do her homework on the programs,” Katie Brown explained. “Kim would ask her, ‘What do you think they (programs, charities) will do with the money?
“Discovery Cottage was a definite ‘yes’ in Caroline’s book,” the mother continued. “She’s really good with those children. She’s been exposed to my other sister, who is also special needs, and feels very comfortable around her.”
Once they decided to donate to Discovery Cottage, Caroline set up her foundation. For every dollar she contributed, her aunt would match it.
Last week, Caroline chose to gift the school with the money she had saved up. She told her mom she hoped the $200 would help teachers and staff buy new supplies and equipment.
“ … We have been overwhelmed and greatly encouraged by the outpouring of support from the community for the cottage. This is just one more example of how someone that we didn’t even know has been impacted by the Discovery Cottage and wanted to help,” said Dale Jackson, president of the Discovery Cottage Booster Club. “It is truly a humbling feeling when you are approached by a 7 year old like Caroline that wants to donate her hard earned money to help us get more equipment.”
“We have a special place in our hearts for special need children and we think Discovery Cottage is a wonderful place to be. We were glad to visit,” said Katie Brown.
Any time Caroline earns money she has the choice to deposit it into her “foundation” and donate it to a charity. Katie Brown said it is a way for her sister with special needs to give back as well.
“It makes me feel great and very proud of Caroline. She’s a very giving child,” Katie Brown said. “I know special needs children teach other people a lot too, and I’m glad Caroline understands that.”
Caroline plans to visit the Discovery Cottage again over the summer.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.