Jayden Nelson, a 10-year-old girl from Doty, has been selected by the Association of Washington Business (AWB) to light the official state capitol Christmas tree this year at the Holiday Kids’s Tree Project that takes place at the capitol rotunda at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 in Olympia.
Jayden has been actively fundraising since her eighth birthday. Two years later Jayden is still working to make a positive impact on the world and says she enjoys doing good things. Her most recent fundraiser was for a called “Nickels for Noah.” Noah, a six-year-old from Centralia, recently lost his battle with brain cancer. Jayden collected nickels in his honor to donate to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.
“I’m most excited to meet the governor,” Jayden said, when asked what she is most excited for about the event. Governor Jay Inslee will be in attendance.
The tree that Jayden will light was delivered to the capitol on Tuesday. According to a post by the AWB that shows the tree being delivered, the tree is a Noble Fir donated by Weyerhaeuser and it is 34 feet tall. The tree will be decorated with 7,000 LED lights and toys as a part of the ornament theme, “Timeless Toys.” The toys will then be donated to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.
In an article about Jayden, Brain Mittge with AWB said that they chose Jayden to light the tree at their event because “she embodies the spirit of generosity that has been the hallmark of the project for three decades.”
“The toys on the tree are going to Mary Bridge and that’s who Jayden fundraises for,” said Eddi Nelson, Jayden’s mother. Shesaid that Jayden has raised about $4,500 for the hospital since she began fundraising.
Jayden’s interest in fundraising began after her teacher read a book to the class titled “Change Makers.” The book discusses what it means to have a positive impact on the world and how someone can make a change by being dedicated to doing good deeds.
Nelson shared her thoughts about Jayden eagerness to fundraise at such a young age.
“I’m surprised that she’s gone this far with it. I’m not surprised that she wanted to start out doing it just because she has a big heart and she’s sentimental,” she said.
The Holiday Kids’ Tree Project organized by AWB began in 1989 and has since raised over $420,000 for low-income families, according to the AWB website.
In addition to the toys that are collected being donated to children at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, AWB will present a donation to rural fire districts. The tree lighting will be held in the capitol rotunda in Olympia. The event is open to the public.