NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Nine-year-old Gianni Graham has been on a mission to donate 1,000 Barbie dolls for 1,000 girls.
On Wednesday, she took a major step toward that goal by delivering 540 dolls to the UpCenter in Norfolk.
“Every doll deserves a doll,” said Graham. “I was just playing with my Barbie doll house and I thought of it.”
Graham reached her goal of collecting 1,000 barbie dolls for girls homeless shelters earlier this month — this was after she had set the goal at Christmas. Graham has collected more than 1,600 Barbie dolls not for herself – but for girls in shelters and foster care.
Her mother Whitney Graham says her daughter’s mission makes her emotional.
“She’s able to connect with [other girls] by giving them a gift that can help to encourage them and inspire them in times when they are feeling down,” said Graham.
She realized that she could share the joy of owning a Barbie with other girls who are less fortunate.
“Now that they have a doll they have a friend,” said Graham. “They are dolls and they deserve one.”
Nicole Russell is one of the “dolls” who received a doll. She was adopted in October after spending five years in Foster care. When she was adopted, she came with a broken Barbie. But not anymore.
“People care. It makes me happy,” said Russell.