The persistent Charlotte Pope

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

Charlotte Pope, a fourth-grader who attends Beye Elementary, is no stranger to causes.  When she and some friends saw some homeless people lying on asphalt while walking downtown this winter, they went into action. 

"Right now, we're making gift baskets for the homeless," Pope said, adding that, once the baskets are finished, she and her friends intend to give them to local charities to distribute to the homeless. 

So it wasn't a shock to Pope's mother, Gina Ulrich, when her daughter literally leapt at what may be her greatest challenge yet — persuading Oak Park government officials and community members of the feasibility of allowing residents to keep and ride ponies around town. 

Pope, who visits the Double J Riding Club in Countryside each Sunday, leases a small horse she named Bubba. If Oak Park laws were changed, she might be able to house the horse nearer where she lives — perhaps in a barn annexing their home. 

Ulrich said her daughter understands there are certain rather formidable obstacles, such as village ordinances, standing firmly in the way of her wishes. However, it's just not in the Beye student's nature to let this burning desire go quietly. 

"We live in a two-flat and we've got two garages and the girls have always said we should make that into a barn," Ulrich said, noting that Pope's two older sisters once entertained the pony passion for a while before they moved on to other adolescent prerogatives. 

"But Charlotte, for some reason, has stayed on this subject," according to Ulrich. "She said, 'You, know I'm really upset.' So I told her she should maybe start a petition. Then her sisters suggested she write the newspaper." 

Always enterprising, Charlotte took her sisters up on the idea. That's one area in which her persistence has already paid off.

Michael Romain


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