Monday, September 22, 2008
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A professional soccer player, an actor and, since his mom said he needed something "just in case" those don’t work out, some kind of job that helps other people, most likely in other countries.
What is your favorite food?
Aurelio’s Pizza: pepperoni, sausage and mushroom. Mom’s homemade cookies.
What is your weird talent?
Remembering unusual facts and information such as 56 percent of American drivers don’t use their turn signals because they can’t figure out how to use them.
Who inspires you and why?
Karen Scheeringa, founder and executive director of Hearts in Motion, because she’s a regular person who has done amazing things to help thousands of other people. My grandpa because he taught me to work hard and always take care of family first.
Max Lawson can’t remember a time he hasn’t put the needs of others before his own wants.
Since the March he turned 3, Max has celebrated birthdays not with presents but as a way to help others.
The year he turned 6, he collected 30 backpacks full of school supplies, kids’ vitamins and baby formula and that summer, through Hearts in Motion, delivered them to Guatemala. While there and noticing that the children tied old tires to their feet for shoes, he turned his 7th birthday into a collection of 100 pairs of shoes. The year he turned 8, Max decided to help the babies in a Guatemala orphanage by collecting money to buy 10 cribs. At 9, he decided to help the boys he played soccer with while in Guatemala, boys about his age put out on the streets to fend for themselves. So Max, a playmaker on his own school and traveling soccer teams, collected enough sports equipment to outfit an entire soccer team.
For his 10th birthday, Max helped the Range of Motion Project, which provides prosthetic limbs. He raised enough money to give two children new legs.
What’s planned for next March 18 and his 12th birthday party? He hesitates, then his eyes light up: Maybe a fireworks show to raise money to buy wheelchairs for a local wheelchair basketball team. His mom just smiles.
In fact, it’s his mom, he says, who inspires him to help others.
"It’s all he knows," says Melissa Lawson, an assistant principal at Willow School in Homewood. "It truly is a part of who he is."
This year, Max, of Munster, Ind., was selected as one of 10 national winners out of the more than 13,000 kids nominated for the Kohl’s Kids Who Care award. It carries a $5,000 scholarship and a $1,000 donation to an organization of his choice.
Max, who is quiet around strangers, admits the attention can get a little overwhelming. After all, he says he’s just a regular kid. He likes gym class and reading. He likes Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC and is learning to play guitar.
His advice to other kids: "Just try and make a difference. If you do something good, it will always come back around."
Do you know a great kid age 14 and under who’s done something amazing? E-mail names and information to firstname.lastname@example.org.