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Brownville kids, 7, donate money to charity

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BROWNVILLE — Friends Riley M. Rickman and Tayla T. and Treyshawna J. Connor have become a team of young philanthropists.

They recently donated all $42 in proceeds from beverage and snack stands they organized in the village to the American Cancer Society. With more stands planned throughout the spring and summer, the three 7-year-old second-graders at Brownville-Glen Park Elementary School hope to raise both money for the organization and awareness about cancer.

“If we bought something for ourselves, then people would think that we stole it, or did something rude,” Tayla said. “Sometimes people get sick. We want to help our world.”

Donald J. Boshart, community executive for the American Cancer Society, said it’s inspiring to see young children wanting to help others.

“Every dollar counts to help fund those programs and services we do,” Mr. Boshart said. “Our organization really is a grass-roots, community-driven and volunteer-driven agency. That’s where we get our money — $1 and $10 at a time. Most of the money the American Cancer Society raises comes from $20 bills and under. I’m proud of these kids.”

Tayla and twin sister Treyshawna know first-hand what cancer can do. Their cousin Madeline E. Musto, 5, died in February 2012 after suffering from a rare brain tumor. Treyshawna said she remembers playing dress-up with Madeline and being active before Madeline became really sick. Although Riley didn’t know Madeline, Riley’s mother, Sonia R.H. Rickman, said cancer has run in her family.

“Riley’s my big giver,” Mrs. Rickman said. “She’s always been like that. I’m proud of her for wanting to help.”

Treyshawna said she, Riley and Tayla had nothing better to do a few weeks ago, so they collected cups, water and graham crackers from their homes and set up a stand at Washington Street and St. Lawrence Avenue.

After waving at passersby and shouting, “This is for cancer,” Tayla said, the girls raised $8.65 that day.

She began to develop a schedule of when the group could work a stand. They organized a lemonade stand the following week and raised an additional $33.35.

Since there’s no local American Cancer Society office, the girls presented the money to Mel Busler of WWNY-TV7 during a Relay for Life event earlier this spring at the Ramada Inn, Watertown.

“We told him we did it for cancer, and we’d do it again,” Treyshawna said. “I was thinking that next time we could do a lemonade stand.”

Although they have yet to firm up their stand schedule, Riley, Tayla and Treyshawna said people should stroll through the village on weekends to see where they might have a stand set up.

Kathie Connor, the twins’ grandmother, said Tayla and Treyshawna also often donate money they earn from chores. Riley also raises money for charity through a portion of proceeds from her artwork, which may be found by visiting www.sunshinecanvases.blogspot.com.

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