VIDEO: Seven-Year-Old with Special Needs Opens Lemonade Stand to Fund Inclusive Playground

Seven-year-old Gwen Ciccozzi of Brunswick, Ohio, loves spending time on playgrounds, but it is very important to her they are inclusive for everyone.

It is a passion that inspired the little girl to launch a lemonade stand and raise money to build one in her area, according to People.

Gwen experienced a perinatal stroke in the womb and has cerebral palsy and limited function on her right side, her mother, Rebecca Ciccozzi, explained.

 “We didn’t know if she would walk or talk or even be able to understand what other people were saying,” Ciccozzi said.

Gwen finds it hard to fully enjoy her time at the playground in Brunswick, so she and her mother sometimes drive to an inclusive playground 20 minutes away.

“It’s so hard because we want to be able to run and take Gwen to a playground,” Ciccozzi noted. “She’s at that stage where she can go to a typical playground, but she can’t enjoy it as much because there’s not as much that she can do with one functional hand.”

However, when neighbor Leann Alerio proposed the area’s first inclusive park in 2020, Gwen jumped at the chance to help raise the money needed.

Ciccozzi said the idea for the lemonade stand, called Gwennie Penny’s Lemonade, came into being when they discovered a bag of lemons in their fridge.

Lemonade stand stats:🍋22 lbs. of Lemons🍋96 Cups of Water🍬Way too much sugar🍬⏳3 hours of time⏳ (not including…

Posted by Gwennie Penny's Lemonade on Thursday, June 24, 2021

“I was so overwhelmed with the generosity of our community,” the proud mother noted. “She raised so much money. We were in the house and counting it and I said, ‘Gwen, this is a lot of money. Do you think you want to keep this all or should we donate some?’ And she immediately said, ‘The playground.'”

In March, the Brunswick School System said it would start a joint fundraising effort to help pay for the playground. The cost is estimated to be about $320,000.

So far, Gwen’s lemonade stand has raised $1,037.26, a June 24 Facebook post read:

Drum Roll PleaseYesterday, Gwennie Penny's Lemonade raised $978.26 for Brunswick's All Inclusive Playground! Combine…

Posted by Gwennie Penny's Lemonade on Thursday, June 24, 2021

“The inclusive playground is so near and dear [to her]. She understands the need for that inclusiveness,” Ciccozzi said.

“When she goes to a typical playground, oftentimes there are things that she struggles to participate in… To have [an inclusive playground] in our neighborhood and our community is our dream,” she concluded.


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