Girl raffles off Christmas present to raise money for troops - Dallas News |

Girl raffles off Christmas present to raise money for troops

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A north Texas girl is giving up what she wanted most, an American Girl doll, so troops in Afghanistan can have an extra special Christmas.

It all started as a school-wide project to collect donations, toiletries, food items and homemade cards to be sent off to the troops.

But a big-hearted 10-year-old noticed the collection boxes weren't as full as she'd hoped, and started thinking of ways to help.

"I think that she's really creative and she comes up with a lot of really good ideas," said Jordyn Self, talking about Saige, the limited edition 2013 American Girl doll of the year.

Self's mother, Amy, bought Saige early, months before Christmas.

"I walked in the closet on an accident," said Jordyn.

"I was pretty upset when she ruined her big surprise," said Amy.

A few weeks later, the very perceptive fourth grader discovered something else at Donald T. Shields Elementary in Red Oak.

"I thought, ‘Well, why aren't people donating? It is a school project,'" said Self. "And usually, like, if we have other school projects, we get more stuff, and this was the first time in a week we didn't have anything in the boxes."

Jordyn, who says she developed a love for community service competing in pageants, originally asked her mom to return the doll so that they could buy even more things to donate.

Then, an idea came to raffle the $110 doll and raise as much as possible.

Within days, the Facebook page Saige for Soldiers raised hundreds of dollars. 

The drive is school resource officer John Julin's pet project.

"I was floored by it," he said. "I honestly have never been in a situation like that or had a student come to me with something like that."

Jordyn doesn't think she'll miss Saige too much – she has other things on her mind.

"Out there, they don't have chocolate, they don't have hamburgers and they are really missing all the stuff that we usually get every day," she said.

"I really feel that God has just blessed the project, because it was a selfless act, and being able to know that that was my daughter being selfless, it's pretty amazing," said Amy.

Amy says the goal was to raise $1,000, and in less than a week, they've just about accomplished that with $970 at last check Monday.

Amy said they'll keep going, raising as much as they can.

The raffle is scheduled for Saturday.

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