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Dynamic Teen Duo Garners High Praise

As school begins, the question first asked is always, 'What did you do this summer?' For tenth-graders Isabella Molinari of Laurel Hollow and Connor Lynn of Lloyd Harbor, the answer was simple: they helped other kids in a big way.

For 10 years the Lynn family has hosted children from the Fresh Air Fund, when 50 students are bussed out of the five boroughs for one week and have a chance to stay with a host family on Long Island.

“I learned to be very thankful for what I have; some of the things I take for granted these children never had,” said Connor.

Connor and Isabella were hoping to encourage other families to do the same and in April gave a presentation to other families at their school, but there was no interest. Not getting discouraged, they decided to raise money to send five kids to the Fresh Air Fund Camps in upstate New York.

It costs $500 to sponsor a child for a week, so their goal was to raise $2,500. They invited about 100 neighbors to the Lynn’s home one evening to shop for items from three companies, planning to donate a portion of the merchandise sold for the Fresh Air Fund.

The evening proved to be a huge success. “Thirty minutes into our fundraiser, we passed $2,500. We were so thrilled because there were so many possibilities once we raised so much money,” said Connor.

They raised $11,000 in two hours. With this windfall of cash they sent 10 children to camp, sponsored a night at Adventureland in Farmingdale for the 50 visiting children and their families, provided dinner and also provided meals for a night of bowling.

But Connor and Isabella still had money left over. “School is very important to me and I thought it would be a great idea for the kids to start off the school year organized and with the proper supplies they needed to have a successful year. I thought if they had all the supplies in a backpack then maybe they would be more interested and do very well in school.”

Connor contacted LL Bean and told them what they wanted to do. When the company heard what these teens were doing, they gave them a huge discount on the 50 backpacks and monogrammed each child’s name for free. Then they went to Staples and the company also gave them a big discount. Each backpack was filled with 17 school items by Connor and Isabella.

Before the children boarded the bus for their trip home, Connor and Isabella distributed the backpacks to the children and Connor gave a little speech. They wanted to give them something that would help them get organized. He discussed the importance of school and being prepared.

“I felt it was important that they went into the year with all of the supplies they needed in order to succeed and I hoped they would do so. I wanted to give them something that was unique to them so I thought having their names of them would be really special. When they got them, so many of them were so amazed, they had never seen any of that before. I was so happy to see them so excited. The kids ran up and hugged us. Some of the kids told me they never even had a backpack before. Once I heard that, I was so thrilled that I was able to give that to them and we were glad that we were able to help them out.”

Isabella explained what they chose to put into the backpacks: “Since most of the kids are in elementary school we decided to put pencils, pens,  crayons, folders, scissors and things like that they would need. We made a list of what we needed and headed to Staples. It was really great to see how happy they all were because they didn’t know they were getting the backpacks. They were overjoyed. It was just great to see how happy it made all of the kids and how much they appreciated the work we put into it. It made me appreciate what I have.”

Their good work did not go unnoticed. Both Assemblyman Michael Montesano (Glen Head) and Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (Huntington Station) awarded

each teen with an official NYS Citation congratulating them for outstanding work.

Assemblyman Montesano invited both teens and their moms into his conference room as they had a chance to tell their story. He in turn explained what he does as an assemblyman and joked that he would like to hire them for his fundraiser upon hearing how much they raised. He praised them for their idea of the backpacks.

“We just take for granted that people can afford buy these things but there are a lot of kids who go to school without the basic essentials,” Montesano said.

He also complimented the moms for doing a great job raising their kids. “You deserve to be congratulated also because they were raised because of your influence upon them.”

After discussing what the teens wanted to do in the future, he explained to them his career path as to how he became an assemblyman and what they do for the community. He congratulated them on their extraordinary achievement and awarded them their certificates. Then it was on to Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci’s office to receive their second award.

Assemblyman Lupinacci wanted to know how they became involved with the Fresh Air Fund and what they did with the money they raised. He wanted to know what the kid’s reaction was when they received the back packs. He then shared with the students how he became involved in politics going from being a teacher, lawyer and now politician. He congratulated them for their accomplishments and awarded them both certificates and also a NYS assembly gold pin. “These pins have our state seal on it and say, “Always rising, always achieving. We want to thank you for all of your hard work, especially at such a young age. You have already done great things and we know that you are going to do other great things. You impressed those children you affected and gave them an excellent summer.”

Isabella said, “It was really cool to be able to talk to them and get this award. It was a good experience overall knowing how many people we helped.”

Connor added, “I am glad we had this opportunity to do this so early in our lives and hopefully we can do it later in our lives too. It was exciting to receive two awards.

Both moms, beaming with pride, had words of praise for their children.

Mary Lynn said, “I am really proud of both Connor and Bella. I think they put a lot of time and effort into a very worthwhile cause.”

Lisa Molinari said, “I am very proud of them. I know they are on the start of a beautiful road of helping the community and doing the best they can and always putting their best effort forward.”

News

This holiday season, Oyster Bay will once again be home to unique, homemade, scrumptious confections from The Chocolate Lady, in the form of a mobile chocolate boutique set up at Buckingham Variety Store on Audrey Avenue. She arrived on Sunday and plans on staying throughout the holidays, and possibly longer.

“I have been developing this concept for the last year and a half and am excited to be coming home to Oyster Bay for this year’s holiday launch,” says Lee Perrotta, aka The Chocolate Lady, who had her shop across the street from Buckingham’s for about five years before she was forced to shut her doors on Christmas Eve in 2012 due to excessive water damage at the rental space.

The Raise The Roof Concert, held at Christ Church on Nov. 9, was an intergenerational event to benefit the Life Enrichment Center of Oyster Bay’s seniors.

Board member Suzanne Paolucci explained the center’s wish to get iPods for the seniors as a source of musical therapy. She brought the idea to the center from a talk by social worker Dan Cohen, the founder of Music & Memory. He has produced a film, Alive Inside, that tells the story of music as being restorative. Music is like therapy for the elderly, in particular for those with dementia, as it has been shown to awaken memories of happier times in life, when energy and enthusiasm were boundless.


Sports

Long Island Lutheran High School senior Samantha Horton of Oyster Bay signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Siena College and compete on the Girls Division I Lacrosse Team in the goaltender position next year. Samantha will be receiving a full athletic scholarship. Horton is pictured with her family.

On the weekend of Nov. 8, the Oyster Bay High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams traveled to the State University of New York at Canton just a few miles from the Canadian border to compete in the New York State Cross Country Championships.

Alex Tosi became the first Bayman since Joe Jazwinski and Justin Nakrin (2008) to become All-State, placing 16th with a time of 16:53. Most runners ran about 20 seconds slower than their Bethpage times because of the muddy conditions on the course. Tosi’s time was basically equivalent to his best Bethpage time, as he powered through the toughest parts of the race. He led the Baymen to a seventh place finish in the Class C race, an improvement from their 11th place finish last year, which ties the highest place at the New York State Championships of a Baymen team since 2009.


Calendar

Annual Turkey Trot

Thursday, Nov. 27

Turkey Detox Workshop

Friday, Nov. 28

East Norwich Holiday

Sunday, Nov. 30



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