10-year-old ‘change maker’ to light Washington capitol tree


Jayden Nelson has raised over $4,000 for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 10-year-old girl from Lewis County will light the holiday tree at the Washington State Capitol.

Jayden Nelson was chosen by the Association of Washington Businesses to flip the switch on the Holiday Kids’ Tree Friday night at the Capitol rotunda in Olympia.

The young girl has raised more than $4,000 for the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital over the past two years through lemonade stands, spaghetti dinners and other events.

Jayden said it all started when her second-grade teacher read a book to her class called “Change Maker.”

“I told my mom that I wanted to be a change-maker and she thought that I wanted to make coins in a factory,” Jayden said.

The initial confusion was cleared up, though, and Jayden got to work on her fundraising efforts.

“I never thought that it would continue on once she did her first fundraiser,” said Jayden’s mom, Eddi Nelson. “She wanted to keep doing more and more so I actually had to limit her fundraisers because she was doing so many I didn’t want her to get burned out.”

Jayden will light the 34-foot noble fire with Gov. Jay Inslee at 6 p.m. on Friday. The tree’s theme this year is “Timeless Toys” and is decorated with classic toys, plush characters and thousands of LED lights. The toys will be donated to patients at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital after the tree is taken down in January.

Donate to the Holiday Kids’ Tree Project

This year marks the 31st anniversary of the Association of Washington Business Holiday Kids’ Tree Project — a fundraiser to benefit children and families in rural communities across Washington.

More about Jayden’s upcoming events

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