Highland Park teen honored for her efforts to ‘repair the world’

A Highland Park teen who has been raising funds for Equestrian Connection through lemonade and cookie sales since she was 5 years old is among 15 Jewish teens to be honored for their efforts to repair the world.

As a recipient of a Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award from The Helen Diller Family Foundation, Gabriella Cooperman, 17, will receive $36,000 to apply toward a charity or education. The teens were honored at an awards luncheon Aug. 28 in San Francisco, where the Diller Foundation is based.

Tikkun olam in Hebrew means “repairing the world.”

At a young age, Cooperman saw how her younger sister Danielle with special needs responded to horseback-riding therapy at the Equestrian Connection near Lake Forest. Cooperman said she wanted to raise money for the therapy and first thought of a lemonade stand “as any young kid would do.”

“I wanted to make it special so I asked my mom to make her famous peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies,” said Cooperman, a senior at Highland Park High School.

She set up her stand at the corner of Lakeside Place and Sheridan Road, about two blocks east of Ravinia Festival’s back gate, the weekend of the Port Clinton Art Festival.

“People thought it was cute that I wanted to raise funds through a lemonade stand,” said Cooperman, who recalls raising about $500 the first year when others thought $50 was a realistic expectation.

For the past 11 years, Cooperman’s Cookies for Charityhas continued selling cookies the last weekend in August at the same location. Because Cooperman will be in San Francisco during the traditional weekend this year, her Cookies for Charity event will take place Sept. 9 and Sept. 10.

A few years after starting Cookies for Charity, Cooperman learned there were kids in need of horse-riding therapy, or hippotherapy, whose families could not afford it. She began directing her proceeds toward a sponsorship program for those children.

She said sales…

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