Naples, Fla. (March 14, 2013) – Stuttering Foundation president Jane Fraser accepted a $10,000 donation today from Tom Christopoul, Chairman of Rita’s Italian Ice. Mr. Christopoul presented Ms. Fraser with the donation at Rita’s Naples outlet, where American Idol top ten finalist Lazaro Arbos worked as a Treat Team Member. The donation took place during a visit to Arbos’ former workplace, and in front American Idol cameras and a crowd of pink-shirted fans.

The Stuttering Foundation has been rooting for Arbos on its Facebook page since his American Idol audition several weeks ago, and has received hundreds of notes and letters of support from people who stutter, and their families. “The entire stuttering community is cheering for Lazaro,” said Ms. Fraser. “That’s three million voters in the U.S. alone!”

“We are touched by the kindness of Mr. Christopoul and the Rita’s Italian Ice family for this donation on behalf of Lazaro Arbos,” said Fraser. “The courage of Lazaro Arbos combined with the generosity of people like Rita’s Tom Christopoul, allows us to continue our mission of helping those who stutter and their families, and educating the public about the myths and mysteries of stuttering.”

“We couldn’t be more proud of Lazaro and appreciate all Rita’s fans who voted for him,” said Mr. Christopoul. “We encourage others like Lazaro to find their voice, and are pleased to donate $10,000 to the Stuttering Foundation on behalf of Lazaro Arbos in support of his determination and strength. All our bets are on Lazaro to win and we are wishing him Ice, Custard, Happiness from Rita’s!”