Making a Difference: 11-year-old girl pays it forward

TULSA - Kierstyn Barnes and her classmates were involved in a "pay it forward" exercise at school.  

"We had a school project where they gave us a dollar and we were supposed to bless somebody in our community with it," the 11-year-old explained.

Kierstyn has a big heart and realizing $1 isn't a lot, she got a big idea and set out to raise even more money.  

"We sent emails and did post on Facebook and asked family and friends for a dollar for each person in the house. We ended up with $410."

She went to Build-A-Bear and made stuffed animals. Then she donated them to kids living in the Laura Dester Shelter: a home for kids in DHS custody.

Kierstyn personally hands out each and every stuffed animal with a smile and bright words of encouragement.

"When you give the kids bears, you can tell how happy they are by their faces. They light up and it makes you feel really special when you hand them out."

Kierstyn had continued raising funds through emails and this Facebook page.  She's now brought in more than $1,000 and she continues to give the fluffy toys to kids.

Volunteer coordinator at the Laura Dester Shelter, Forrest Carpenter, says she is doing something more special than she can imagine. Because of what the shelter children have gone through in their young lives.   He says "They come here with nothing and when they go to bed at night they don't have somebody to hug and be there to hold their hand. They are on their own and so to have that bear is huge."

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