A local teen that has been making waves due to her outstanding generosity. 8th grader at Wilson Jr High School, Lia Haile has been helping out at Hope House, a non-profit organization in Manitowoc whose purpose is to provide immediate shelter and guidance to homeless individuals and families. Lia began throwing birthday parties for the children in hope house after a chance encounter with one of the residence. When she was in second grade, she was delivering donations collected by her Girl Scout troop, when she encountered a small boy. It was that boy’s birthday. He mistook the donations as gifts for his birthday. Lia told us she was so touched she, “…talked to my parents a little bit more, and I said ‘I really want to help this kid. I really want to give him a birthday party.’ So then the next day I brought in cake and balloons and presents for him.” According to her mother, Tania Haile, Lia has “…always been very giving. She has always been that kind of kid that looks after everybody else and just cares about what everybody has and doesn’t have and she’s just always been a very kind, very compassionate person.”
With the help of Youth Service America, Lia has been selected as one of 270 young leaders from across the country to receive a $500 Disney Summer of Service Grant. Lia said her plan for the money is to throw more birthday parties for children at the shelter. Lia has been getting a lot of attention both locally and nationally for her efforts at Hope House. Some people would find it rather difficult to remain humble and down to earth with all that exposure, but according to Tania, Lia doesn’t have that problem, saying, “She’s always been a humble person. She doesn’t necessarily enjoy the spotlight, so to speak, she kind of shies away from it. That’s just a huge part of who Lia is. She’s just, really quiet.” Lia is very thankful to both the community and to YSA. She is looking forward to helping more children in the future.