Noah Lamaide is not your average 12-year-old. Since he was 9, the Wisconsin boy has been active in community service, largely inspired by his grandmother, Janice Sparhawk, who has served as a foster parent to hundreds of local children. When foreclosure threatened his grandmother's century-old house recently, the young altruist leapt into action. Here, a short guide to this unusual story:
What exactly happened?
After taking out a 2010 loan to put a new roof on her circa 1900 home, Janice Sparhawk, 72, fell behind on the mortgage payments. Eye surgery and complications from asthma forced Sparhawk out of work, making it more difficult for her to pay back what she owed. Her home, which had been in the family for three generations, was slated for auction on Feb. 15, 2012.
And her grandson came to the rescue?
He sure did. With his mother's help, Noah had previously set up a website, Noah's Dream Catcher Network, to promote his various charity projects. On Jan. 5, the boy refocused the site to raise money to save his grandmother's home. "My Grandma, in case you don't know her, has a heart of gold," he wrote on the site. "If I have 400 friends give $25.00 I can give her her home back for Valentines Day!!!" Donations poured in from all over the country, and within a month, Noah had raised $10,500. On Monday, he signed checks over to the local bank, allowing Sparhawk to stay in her historic house.
And Noah has a history of charity?
Yes. When he was 9, Noah's mother challenged him to do one community service project each year. Rather than just completing a few hours of volunteer work here and there, Noah focused his efforts on raising money for food banks, or sending a family friend with cancer on vacation. Some years, Noah even gave up his birthday presents so he could make contributions of his own.