Ten-year-old Lauren Cutaia sells bracelets for charity at the end of her family’s driveway. Photo courtesy Cutaia family

Age is no barrier for young trailblazer

By 
  • March 17, 2022

At just 10 years old Lauren Cutaia is already making an impact on her community, using her passion for creating jewelry to support the less fortunate.

Winner of the YWCA Hamilton Young Trailblazer honours at the 2022 Women of Distinction Awards, Cutaia has been making bracelets and selling them to raise money for local charities. The Young Trailblazer award honours a young person under the age of 25 who shows leadership at school, in the community or in their workplace. A Young Trailblazer is an exceptional leader and inspiration to their generation who challenges the status quo, understands and addresses community issues and inspires others to do the same.

A Grade 5 student at Holy Rosary Catholic Elementary School in Burlington, Ont., during the pandemic Cutaia realized many people were struggling and chose to put her talents to doing something about it.

“Over the pandemic, a lot of people had been struggling and I wanted to help them,” said Cutaia. “I love jewelry, so I decided to create bracelets and sell them at $5 each and give the proceeds to all local charities.”

Making bracelets was already a hobby of hers so Cutaia decided to sell them and donate the money to charities she felt passionate about. She began designing and making clay beaded bracelets and to date has sold over 700 bracelets and donated more than $1,000 to local charities, including the Halton Catholic Children’s Foundation (HCCF), Alzheimer Society, Burlington Humane Society, the Burlington Food Bank and additional funds supporting breast cancer research.

She’s been selling bracelets through school and her Facebook page and has received orders from as far away as the east coast.

Cutaia’s sales began when she decided to run a bracelet stand outside her home. With her parents’ permission she set up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and had a steady stream of customers to buy bracelets.

After successfully doing that for a month and a half she approached her school principal and asked if she could hold a bracelet sale. That week she sold 300 bracelets raising money for the HCCF. Many of her friends have come on board and been inspired to help make bracelets.

“Lauren is a ray of sunshine, I’m so blessed to be her teacher,” said Carol Mullally.  “She lightens up our everyday with her wonderful kindness, her genuine love of learning; she gives her all to everything. To see that empathy towards others and to see her using a gift that she has was incredible. She had friends to help her, and she had long, long, long lines of customers. She had to go home to make more every night because she was selling out.”

Cutaia spends just about all her free time now making bracelets in order to stock pile enough for this summer when her sales resume at the end of her driveway. She also now has a bracelet stand at The Attic, a second hand store in Burlington raising money for the Humane Society.

Her family has been blown away by her initiative at such a young age. Her mom Pam has no idea what charity she’ll support next but knows she will follow her gut instinct like she’s always done and inspire others to do the same.

“I feel like she has the foundations now to carry this further,” said Pam. “She understands the importance of helping others and working hard to help others. Hopefully she can be a role model for other people and influence them to do the same. At the end of the day, you’re never too young to help other people and you’re never too old.”

The Women of Distinction Awards gala took place virtually on March 3.

Cutaia officially accepted her award at school on March 8, International Women’s Day.

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