Shalom Life | April 24, 2014

Top 20 Under 40- Amanda Belzowski

This 14-year old entrepreneur started her own business when she was 2 years old

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: February 24th, 2012 in Culture » Society » Interviews

Top 20 Under 40- Amanda Belzowski

Shalom Life is proud to present our 2nd annual ”Top 20 Under 40” list. This list encompasses 20 individuals of diverse occupations and backgrounds from businessmen and businesswomen and innovative entrepreneurs, to philanthropists, entertainers, doctors and more, the list places a spotlight on the myriad of talented, creative and passionate Jews, all under 40, who call Canada home.

Top 20 Under 40- Amanda Belzowski

Age: 14

14-year-old, Amanda Belzowski, is the youngest entrepreneur to land on our list. Her dedication to philanthropic endeavors is an inspiration. Starting in 1999 (Seriously. Do the math), Belzowski launched Amanda’s Lemonade Stand in order to raise money to “fix kids hearts”. To date, she has raised almost $200,000 with absolutely no corporate sponsorship.

Most young children spend their time playing with toys, watching cartoons, and participating in extra-curricular activities. Belzowski did all of these things, but felt it imperative to dedicate some of her time to helping other kids in need.

“When I was little, I could hear and feel my own heart beating. I learned that some people had hearts that didn't work so well and that even children had broken hearts sometimes. I realized that it was something that affected everyone in some way because everyone knew somebody who had a heart or stroke problem. Many people though still think that it is only an old person's problem so I thought I could help teach people that some kids are even born with heart problems and even have heart attacks even though I didn't really know of any child specifically,” Belzowski says.

When Belzowski was only 2 years old, her parents took her on the Ride for Heart, riding on the back of her father’s bicycle. When they were on their way home from the fundraiser, they passed a lemonade stand. Belzowski thought it looked like a blast, so she asked her parents if she could run her own stand.

“My dad said, 'sure!' and since, I didn't know what money was yet, my parents put out my sponsor sheet for the Ride [for Heart] since everyone had to be registered. My mom had already told me what a heart was and so when people asked how much my lemonade was, I told them ‘a donation to fix hearts’. My parents obviously told me the word 'donation' but I understood that something was broken and these cookies and lemonade could help. That first year, I raised $500 and my first lemonade stand was so much fun, that I couldn't wait to do it again the next year!”

And that’s how Amanda’s Lemonade Stand started. What started off as a young child wanting to have fun and help out other children at the same time has turned into a lifelong passion. Belzowski and her family have never sought corporate sponsorship. They brought attention to the lemonade stand through word of mouth, flyers, posters and of course the appeal of an adorable kid asking for donations to ‘fix kid’s hearts’.

Belzowski has garnered attention from many public figures including Donald Trump, David Copperfield, Larry King, Rick Hansen, Barbara Walters and Mike “Pinball” Clemons. These celebrities have lent their name and donated items to the auction she runs at her lemonade stand.

Belzowski’s younger brother, Joshua, has now taken over Amanda’s Lemonade Stand. He caught the philanthropic bug from his older sister and plans to continue building on the brand and raising funds for charity.

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