10-year-old Norfolk girl collects dolls for charity

Posted at 8:28 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 20:44:58-04

You've seen this weeks People Taking Action Award winner on News 3 before. Gianni Graham started the Dolls for Dolls Foundation at the young age of 9 years old.

News 3's Allison Mechanic featured Gianni in January when she reached her goal of collecting 1,000 Barbie dolls for girls in foster homes and shelters across Hampton roads.

"I never thought I would collect over 1,000 barbies," said Graham.

When Graham started her collection, she only had five dolls. They were her own Christmas gifts that she decided to donate instead of play with.

"I want it to make them feel that they have a friend to talk to and play with," explained Graham. "When they are going through a hard time to make it easier."

She began getting dolls from people across the country and across the world.

Although her original goal has been completed, Graham says she's not done helping others.  Her new goal is now to collect 10,000 dolls for girls here in Hampton Roads and around the country.

To honor this inspiring grade-schooler, we surprised her at her school, Ingleside Elementary in Norfolk. We came into her classroom with her mom and grandmother along with the school Principal.

The look on her face was priceless! Even though she's used to being interviewed on television, she was truly surprised to get the award. She was even more excited when I presented her with a $300 gift certificate from our partner Southern Bank.

Congrats to Gianni and we wish her luck on reaching the goal of collecting 10,000 dolls for her charity.

Previous coverage: Norfolk girl completes goal, collects 1,000 Barbie dolls for 1,000 girls