Noah Lamaide and Janice Sparhawk
05/22/2012 at 05:00 PM EDT
One day this past January, Noah Lamaide of Stevens Point, Wisc., heard crying as he crept down his basement stairs.
His grandmother, Janice Sparhawk, 72, was tearfully explaining to his mom, Jill, that illness had caused her to fall behind on the mortgage on the white 100-year-old cottage that had been in her family for generations.
If she didn't pay the $10,500 she owed, it would go into foreclosure in a month.
Budding philanthropist Noah, 12, sprang into action. Tapping his nonprofit Noah's Dream Catcher Network
that he's used to help veterans and sick children, he raised the funds in just two weeks, saving Sparkhawk and the foster kids she helps from evictions.
"I was so grateful," Sparhawk says, "I wanted to cry."
Noah knew the stakes were high. "I was really worried because I knew if she lost the house it wouldn't affect just her. There would be kids who wouldn't have a safe place to stay," says the seventh-grader. "And I really love playing in her big yard."
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