Way to Go: Jessica Penna

Jessica Penna is making a big difference for Jessica Penna is making a big difference for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. Photo Credit: Handout

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Jessica Penna is making a big difference for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.

The junior at St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington has done everything from rallying classmates to cooking for the New Hyde Park nonprofit, which aids kids temporarily staying at the house as they receive medical treatment at the Cohen Children's Medical Center.

"What's so great about the house is that it doesn't deny anyone anything," said Penna, 17. "They try to make everyone feel as welcome as possible."

Penna's latest effort included buying toys and candy to fill 20 Easter baskets for children at the House. She also held a dodgeball tournament at the Athlete Zone in St. James, raising $600.

Penna got involved last fall through her SAT tutor, Donna Christina Oliverio, who founded Kids Stock the House, a program that encourages kids to raise money for the nonprofit. To recruit classmates, Penna and friends Madison Fulford and Brianna Xirinachs started a school club that invites teens to help raise funds.

Club members also have made presentations about the cause to local Girl Scout troops and at an Education Advisory Board meeting spearheaded by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).

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