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It is the season of giving. But Highland Park teen Gabriella Cooperman has been giving nearly her entire life.

Recently she held the 12th annual Cookies for Charity and Lemonade Stand and she has raised nearly $150,000 to date. She donates all proceeds to Equestrian Connection, an organization that provides horse riding and other therapy to the disabled.

Her sister Danielle has special needs and Gabriella says she has witnessed firsthand the positive impact it’s had.

“The first time my sister rode the horse she stood up straight which she wasn’t able to do before,” Gabriella says.

Cookies for Charity has become a community event over the years and Gabriella now has more than 20 sponsors. Her hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. This past summer she was a recipient of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award. It is an award given by the Helen Diller Foundation to Jewish teens who work to make this world a better place or “repair the world.”

The monetary award of $36,000 can be used to further education or her work. And in true Gabriella Cooperman fashion, she donated a portion to Equestrian Connection.

Gabriella Cooperman – she’s one of Chicago’s Very Own.

More information at Cookies for Chairty’s website.