While other kids in Los Alamitos, California, spend their summers off at camp or swimming in the pool, Jaelyn Sagen has gone to work. For the past six summers, the 12-year-old Sagen has set up a lemonade stand and started slinging cups of lemonade to raise money for homeless people in her California neighborhood. Sagen, who goes by the nickname “J.J.,” has raised nearly $16,000 to date for the charity group We Care of Los Alamitos.
Sagen’s altruism dates back more than half a decade, to a moment when she encountered a homeless man for the first time in 2010 and wanted to do something about it, the girl’s mother, Janelle, told ABC News.
“When she was 6 years old she said, ‘Mom, let’s make a lemonade stand and buy that man a house,’” Janelle Sagen said. “She is very smart, very giving, she’s always had that heart. She is very strong-willed, if she wants something, she goes and she does it; it completely drives us crazy.”
Sagen’s mom described her daughter as an “old soul” who “walks to the beat of her own drum.” Sagen, meanwhile, said she’s proud of how the community has helped support her, including local businesses creating banners for her stand and hosting her stand outside of their shops. Last week, Los Alamitos Mayor Richard Murphy showed up to buy some lemonade, along with a local fire station crew on its fire truck.
“Well, I saw a homeless man on the street and it kind of surprised me because I had no clue that people lived like that. I just didn’t think it was fair because I lived such a fortunate life,” J.J. said.
Read the full story at Yahoo.