On November 21, two young Leaside philanthropists will receive the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award from the Toronto chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) in recognition of their many years of raising funds for Diabetes Canada through a series of lemonade stands. That’s right – lemonade stands.
Jamie Cleghorn, 17, has Type 1 diabetes, and he and his best friend, Max Armstrong, also 17, have devoted much of their time and energy to raising funds for diabetes research and diabetes camps, or D-camps, with the help and guidance of their mothers, Lynne Bridgman and Carolyn Armstrong.
It all started in 2009 when the neighbouring Leaside families decided to participate in a walk to support diabetes research and raised the funds for it through a lemonade stand in a prime location at Millwood and Bayview. They were so successful that first year that they continued the project for five more years.
Then, after Jamie spent time at a D-camp called Camp Huronda, he understood the importance of the camps in helping children to connect with others like themselves, build their confidence and learn to self-manage their diabetes. As a result of his experiences as both a camper and a counsellor, Lynne says, “We decided to switch our focus to funding programs and getting kids to help each other.”
In June 2015, the families launched the program “Put a Squeeze on Diabetes” with one lemonade stand on Bayview and another at Lexus on the Park, thanks to friend and neighbour, Alistair Baxter, the general manager of the dealership. Then, Diabetes Canada decided to partner with the families to increase their fundraising strength through an online presence.
A year later, Tara Frotten, events coordinator at Diabetes Canada, joined the team to design and manage the website, which is used for registering the lemonade stands, getting donations and submitting funds. The number of lemonade stands increased from 27 in Ontario in 2015 to over 100 across Canada this past June. (Those who wish to participate can visit www.putasqueeze.ca to gain information, register and receive the Fundraising 3 Toolkit.) Jamie and Max pack the toolkits themselves and deliver them on their bikes to local participants.
Tara, Lynne and Carolyn also created the “pitch” that Alistair Baxter took to the Canada One Auto Group when these dealers were interested in combining their fundraising efforts. As a result, Jamie and Max were presented with a cheque for $100,000 from the group on June 23, bringing their total raised over the last four years to an impressive $240,000. It’s “an honour and a privilege to work with the two families whose passion and commitment are inspiring,” says Tara. It was through Tara and her colleague at Diabetes Canada that Jamie and Max were nominated for the AFP award this year.
The boys are thrilled with the award and plan to keep working on “Put a Squeeze” for as long as possible. Since both are interested in studying business at university, Carolyn suggests these young philanthropists might eventually get more businesses involved in this project and similar ones in the future.