Mansfield Patch's Whiz Kids of the Week: The Little Lappers

Young students dedicated to fundraising for the American Cancer Society.

Twenty-two students from ages 5-11 have banded together to set a wonderful example for their peers and the entire Mansfield community by making it their goal to help others.

The Little Lappers are a Relay for Life team, most of whom are Mansfield students. The team was started last year and is co-captained by cousins Catherine Sapovits, a fifth grader at the and Cecelia DeSimone, a fourth graders also at the .

Both of the captains have been involved in the since it began in Mansfield.

“When I was little, my grandma was diagnosed with cancer, so we started doing Relay for Life,” explained Catherine. “Right after she passed away, we had a kid’s team.”

The girls’ mothers, Amy Sapovits and Ana Liza DeSimone are Relay committee members and are on an adult team. The girls were a part of their team until last year when they decided to form the Little Lappers.

The girls recruited friends and family to join them in raising money for the American Cancer Society. Some have lost loved ones to cancer and were compelled to give back, while others wanted to do something special with their friends. What they all have in common is a feeling of importance and a sense of responsibility when raising money.

“My favorite part is knowing that a lot of people are depending on me,” expressed Catie McCarthy, a fourth grader at the .

The Little Lappers enjoy working on fundraising, which they do a couple times a year. They all echo the same sentiments about the feelings that being part of a Relay team gives them.

“It’s really fun,” said Meghan Gulley, a fourth grader at the Jordan/Jackson. “I also feel like I’m helping out.”

The team held their biggest fundraiser to date on March 24 at the . The event was based on NBC’s Minute to Win It. Each team member, accompanied by a parent, ran one of the ten games. Participants played Separation Anxiety, where you have to separate 50 multicolored chocolate candies into five different containers, Face the Cookie, in which they must move a cookie from their forehead to mouth without using their hands and Extreme Nutstacker, where the participant stacks ten nuts using chopsticks. The event was open to students in grades 3-5 and cost each participant $20.

“Minute to Win It is something they all enjoy,” explained Amy, “so we thought other kids their age would enjoy it and that’s why we sort of kept it around their age group.”

There was an 80 participant limit and about 65 students attended. The event raised $1300. Due to its success, they are thinking of doing it again next year.

The team also sells cookie dough, returns cans, collects pocket change and has a yard sale each year to raise money. Last year, they participated in the Relay Marketplace for the first time. They set up a table to sell lemonade and homemade cookies and they did face painting and temporary tattoos. The Little Lappers will be at this years Marketplace which will be held on Saturday, May 7.

The is June 17-18 at . Sapovits and DeSimone will be representing their team bright and early as they have done in years past.

“They’ll go ahead of time,” said Amy. “They’ll set the Luminaria, they volunteer and they stay until we make them go home.”

The entire team is dedicated and hard working. Whether it was nature or nurture that made them this way, they all have a strong passion for helping others. The Little Lappers are an inspiring group of kids.



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