Last Christmas, Gianni Graham from Norfolk, Virginia, wished she could help other girls, less lucky than herself. Her two Barbie dolls she got for Christmas gave her a brilliant idea.
“I was building my Barbie doll house and I thought of it,” said Gianni. “I feel like girls in shelters should have the same as girls that are not in shelters.”
That’s when she set a new goal for herself: to collect a 1000 Barbies for girls at homeless shelters and foster homes. Just in three months she had those 1000 Barbies. In her home there are hundreds of them piled high. They’ve been sent from all over with encouraging notes attached telling Gianni Graham to “Keep up the great work” because “The world needs more people like her.”
“Everything just happened literally overnight,” said Whitney Graham, Gianni’s mother. “It’s been amazing. Within a week we went from five Barbie’s to a little over 500 from people all over the U.S. and even outside.”
She started to send Barbies to girls during her spring break.
Here came another problem. Gianni realized that she needed to pay for all the wrapping paper she was using to wrap Barbie dolls for other girls as gifts. But she didn’t give up! Gianni decided to make and sell earrings. She makes the earrings from fabric she purchases at craft stores, and the money she gets pays for the wrapping paper.
What is even more amazing about Gianni is that she includes a personal, hand-written note with each Barbie doll she gives away. Since last Christmas she has collected and donated almost 5,000 Barbie dolls!
“The girls that are in the foster homes may think, ‘No one loves me,’ ‘I’m not beautiful,’ ‘I’m not anything,’ But they actually are, and I want them to find that in themselves!” Gianni says.
“If I — a kid — can do it, just imagine what you can do as an adult!”