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Many Roofs, One Family: Noah's Mission to Save His Grandmother's Home
Family is a central focus in many people’s lives. Whenever we have family in trouble, we do what we can to help that family in need. The situation could be as simple as helping your child get through their homework or as daunting as having to provide healthcare for an elder relative. It’s a special bond that calls us to provide that true helping hand, motivated by a love and devotion that is unmatched by any other relationship.
It was this special bond that gave a young boy the hope he found to save his grandmother from losing her home.
On February 8, 2012, ABC news had reported that Janice Sparhawk, who is 72, was in danger of losing her home to foreclosure by February 15 after falling behind on her mortgage in 2010. She had taken out some money to put a new roof on her home, but did not have enough left over to keep up with the house payments.
The house was full of memories for Janice. It was built by her grandfather and it was also the same house where her mother was born. It had been with the family for no less than three generations.
Noah Laminade is the 12-year-old grandson of Janice. Noah had been raised with a mother who was considered to be very charitable. In addition, his grandmother had often taken in foster children. When Noah turned 9 years-old, his mother gave him a challenge: do no less than one service project year. Since that time, Noah followed in his mother’s footsteps, becoming actively involved with charitable work whenever the opportunity presented itself.
In 2010 Noah created a website in called Noah’s Dream Catcher Network. The site uses a secure pay system to ask people to donate towards his cause as well as discuss projects where he has been a volunteer. According to the website, some of those projects have included donating his birthday gifts to a local food pantry and raising money for a family to go to Disney World. The mother of the family was ill with cancer and died before she could make the trip with her daughter and husband, but Noah was able to send them the money so they could make the trip in honor of her memory.
After Noah learned about his grandmother’s precarious situation, he decided to take his mother's challenge to the next level: save his grandmother’s house through the use of his website.
On February 10, 2012, Steve Hartman of CBS news reported that Noah sought donations from visitors to his site. The odds were stacked against him as Noah only had $100 in his pocket and his own father was looking for work himself.
When asked by CBS why this bothered him so much, he simply stated:
“Because she helps a lot of people like foster children and it would be more than me that just suffered.”
On January 5, Noah made his plea to the community and posted the following statement on his site:
“My Grandma incase you don’t know her has a heart of gold…I need to raise $10,000 … It seems like sooo much money but if I have 400 friends who can spare $25.00 I can give her this gift!”
He gave her quite a gift indeed. This month just a few days before this story was reported by CBS and ABC, Noah showed up at his grandmother’s bank with $10,000 worth of checks. Janice remarked that saving her house restored her faith in her family, her friends, and her community.
When I finished reading this story, I decided to look up the word “family” in the Webster Dictionary. Like with all words in dictionary, there were several definitions, but one in particular stuck out for me:
“a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation”
When we think of family, we may automatically think of people that are related to us by blood. However, I think we all know the meaning goes far deeper than that. When we live so close to each other, we become more aware of our surroundings. We find ourselves more in tune with what is happening to each person around us. Certainly that sense of awareness is far stronger in many cases when we find out what’s happening to a loved one, especially when that loved one is in serious trouble.
Noah believed that was indeed the case. Whatever happened to his grandmother, as he said, didn’t just affect him, but also the children she took care of out of the kindness of her heart. Many of us live in close communities, yet I’m sure that many of us don’t get a chance to know about the lives of the people living in them. Noah used the tools he had to tell people in his neighborhood about the kind of person his grandmother is and what she has done for them. Noah showed the community that to lose someone like that would mean one less caring person would be around to provide a helping hand.
I believe that’s why family is so important. When we grow up in a family of people related by blood, we grow up in a home full of people that will be there for us when we are in trouble. When we broaden that vision to include the communities that surround us, that support system grows to the point that we can feel safe and secure no matter where we go and what we do. When we feel safe, we feel happy about life.
We read about disasters and scandals in the news all the time. We grow up in hard times where jobs are scarce and the cost of living is hard to handle. That is why family is there…to promote that sense of “conviction and common affiliation.” When we live together and grow up together, we come together to stand up against impossible odds. Families create a real place of warmth and compassion that gets us out of tough spots. Families provide financial help, a friendly ear, a good home, and anything else that we need in order to survive. Most important of all, families make us feel good about who we grow up to be. We then pass on our convictions to the people in our immediate families as well as to the people we know in our communities. It is a cycle of love that spreads out from one person to the next. As long as each of us embraces that love from each other, none of us will ever be alone even in the worst of times.
Good people like Noah and his grandmother are proof that this cycle does exist and will continue to exist as long there are people who follow their examples.
No matter how dark are the clouds, there is always someone we can count on to open that umbrella and keep us safe from the rain.