Lola Paolissi paying it forward


Even though she’s only 10 years old, Lola Paolissi has enjoyed a series of special successes in her young life.

For the past year Paolissi has worn the sash, crown and title of Little Miss Rhode Island.

However, not even the thrill of winning a prestigious pre-teen beauty queen title tells the true story about a little girl – a fifth grade student at Saint Rocco’s School in Johnston – who seems to have an affinity for helping people and animals with needs.

Paolissi is using the latter part of her reign to start a drive – and perhaps a fund – that helps local animal shelters. Those close to the Little Miss RI Italia – and her mom Stephanie Paolissi – will attest that Lola is highly-interested in performing various levels of community service.

But apparently her mom and family friends aren’t the only ones who have recognized the pre-teen’s talents.

During a recent weekend, Lola Paolissi won an award, an honor that stretches beyond beauty, and did so among a field of former and current Miss Rhode Island Italia titleholders.

It’s known as the Isabella Corcelli Community Service Award, presented each year in honor of the late Isabella Corcelli, who at age 21 was in the middle of her reign and lost her battle with cancer. Since then, her father Michael Corcelli – and a committee that’s committed to continuing her wonderful works – has presented the award to a current Miss Italia. And, as the Sun Rise learned, the 2017 honor went to Lola Paolissi who committee officials say epitomizes the late Isabella Corcelli in many ways.

“She was a beautiful person – period,” Stephanie Paolissi, who owns her share of beauty crowns, said about the late Isabella Corcelli who lost her battle with cancer in 2016. “Her passing affected lots of people. It was a shame … she had done many things with her title and assisted in a multitude of fund-raisers and charity events.”

The award that bears her name is given each year to a Miss RI Italia titleholder who has demonstrated a strong commitment to volunteering and support local charity organizations. And those criteria, people will tell you, is where Lola Paolissi meets every requirement.

“Lola has always been that kind of kid,” her mother said. “She has volunteered to cook and serve the homeless; she is doing her own toys for tots drive and participating and hosting a help warm the homeless clothing drive as well as holding her own drive for local animal shelters.”

Needless to say, Stephanie Paolissi “is so proud of Lola for many reasons” but as she said “this award has taken the cake for me. I feel like as parents sometimes we are so focused on teaching our children to be the best of sports and get the best grades and it’s only normal to want the best for our children. But it’s equally as important to teach them the importance of kindness, compassion and the joy of giving back.”

And the people administer the Isabella Corcelli Community Service Award feel the same way about Lola Paolissi, a talented 10-year-old elementary school student whose motto is “to try every day to sprinkle a little kindness everywhere.”



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