Nov. 13, 2023: Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Jayden Polgrabia is the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award announced by the Golden Horseshoe Chapter of The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) for their 2023 National Philanthropy Day awards. Jayden will accept his award at a luncheon celebration hosted by the AFP Golden Horseshoe Chapter on Nov. 15, 2023.

According to the AFP, the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award recognizes service by an individual aged 10-23 who demonstrates outstanding commitment to the community through direct financial support, development of charitable programs, volunteering, and leadership in philanthropy.

Nominated for the award by Family and Children’s Services Niagara, Jayden’s passion, drive, and high level of engagement with philanthropic work signaled him as a stand-out amongst a strong pool of nominees.

“We are so thrilled that Jayden has won the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award and that his efforts are being recognized publicly,” says Brett Sweeney, FACS Niagara Director of Communications and Community Engagement. “His desire to help others has grown into our region wide community fundraiser and we are so appreciative for his support in making this such a special event.”

Pre-pandemic, Jayden would host lemonade stands with his sister Kaitlyn at his family home to raise money for FACS Niagara. This act sparked the idea for what is now a Niagara-wide fundraiser called Mountainview LemonAID Day.

Mountainview LemonAID day is a community-based event where local families and businesses register to host a lemonade stand in which all proceeds go towards sending children served by FACS to weeklong day camps as well as overnight camps outside the region. This event ensures that local children, who may not otherwise have the opportunity, are able to experience summer camp. Camp is an important chance for kids to be physically active, socialize, develop friendships and most importantly, have fun. This fundraiser makes these summer camp programs possible.

“I really liked the idea of a lemonade fundraiser because it is essentially kids helping other kids,” says Jayden. “Mountainview LemonAID Day is so important because some kids don’t get to go to camp with their friends. And I think all kids should get a chance to go to camp.”

Jayden has played an active role in Mountainview LemonAID Day by raising awareness and encouraging participation for the event. He has appeared before local municipal councils and mayors, and participated in radio, television, and print media interviews – all at the young age of 13.

In 2023, over 100 families registered for Mountainview LemonAID Day, raising more than $100,000 which funded over 500 weeks of camp for local children served by FACS Niagara. Jayden and his family were among the top three fundraising teams.

When asked about his commitment and dedication to the event, Jayden shared – “I just want to help. I thought, if one kid or parent saw me participating and promoting the event, then maybe they would want to sign up and help too.”