LEWISTOWN - Isabella Mannino is an extremely ambitious young lady.
She is 10 years old and is currently in 5th grade. She is known to many simply as, "Izzy."
Her father, Vince Mannino, describes her as "one of those kids that just does things." She plays saxophone, soccer, sings in the school chorus, is a member of a ski club, and is a ballet and contemporary dancer. She manages to do all these things and keep a steady stream of As and Bs on each of her report cards.
Photo submitted by VINCE MANNINO
Isabella Mannino, 10, bakes and sells cookies to benefit various charities. Her latest project is an attempt to raise $2,000 to purchase equipment for the Cardiac Rehab Center at Lewistown Hospital.
In addition to all of her other extracurricular activities, she thoroughly enjoys baking. She has even discovered a way to monetize her homemade cookies. And it's what she does with the money from her sales that separates her from the average 10-year-old.
A few years ago, Isabella was watching Sandra Lee on the Food Network and was inspired by what she was witnessing. Sandra Lee was urging viewers to organize bake sales to donate to their local schools or other chaitable events in their neighborhood. Shortly before tuning in that day, Isabella had learned about National Breast Cancer Month and it was fresh in her mind. She decided to harmonize those ideas.
Izzy decided that she was going to bake cookies and donate the proceeds to charity. Originally, she chose the name "Izzy's Cookies for Cancer," but opted to change the name last year to "Izzy's Cookies for Caring" to include other organizations and places in need of help like animal shelters and the like.
"At first, I sat at a stand in my front yard but nobody stopped by so I started to walk around the block in my neighborhood going door to door," says Isabella.
Initially, the project did not start out as well as she hoped. Izzy says that her first sale only amounted to $7. But shortly after, she had amassed $127 and she donated it the Lewistown Hospital's Cancer Center.
Recently, she spoke at Rotary Club of Lewistown meeting about Cookies for Caring and distributed cookies to the members afterward. In turn, she generated $130 in sales that she presented to Phyllis Mitchell, Rotarian, and public relations director for Lewistown Hospital.
Izzy's Cookies for Caring has a Facebook page where orders can be placed by messaging her. She usually sells cookies for 25 cents each but says "people have given me as much as $20 for a single cookie." She also adds that she tells those people that they don't need to offer so much, but they often insist. At the moment she says she has about 10 dozen orders to prepare for several local businesses.
Isabella is curently taking on a project to raise money for a piece of medical equipment for the Cardiac Rehab Center that costs more than $2,000. It's an ambitious project, but Isabella is confident that she will be successful.
Isabella hopes that other people her age will follow her lead and become interested in taking the opportunity to give back to their community and help those in need.
In the future, Isabella plans to become a doctor. She says that when she has saved enough money, she plans to own her own restaurant, too.
Izzy's Cookies for Caring can be on the web at www.facebook.com/IzzysCookiesForCancer.