Brandon Elementary students swap birthday presents for charity work

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's not every day that a 10-year-old would decide to swap birthday presents for charity work, but that's exactly what five Brandon Elementary students did.

The girls asked the community over the weekend to donate $1,000 to the American Cancer Society for their birthdays and the community listened.

"We really didn't want presents this year because we just really like to help other people and there are some other people that go [to Brandon Elementary] that don't ever really get any of that kind of stuff," said Autumn Squires.

Lauren Lear, Paige Rawlinson, Reagan McDuffie, Aubrey Lindsey and Autumn Squires decided a couple weeks ago that they wanted to host a birthday party to help raise money for several organizations they liked. They even asked guests to bring canned goods to donate to local food banks.

"It feels good. Our goal is trying to do like people can copy like they can do the same thing that we did," Lauren Lear said.

"Yeah, like, we're trying to get more people to not get presents and start doing donations to give to other people," Paige Rawlinson said.

Sheila Skelton, the director of the HOST lab at Brandon Elementary, said she felt so inspired by what the girls were doing she even donated.

"I think it shows leadership skills. I think—well, I know their families personally so I know how they've been brought up in their homes, and I know they've been taught that to give to others and to help other people and I think it just shows good leadership skills," Skelton said.

The girls say they are unsure if they will donate each year, but would like to send donations to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

"Half of the kids in America or in the World or something go to St. Jude's to get surgery because they have some kind of cancer and we just don't want," Lauren Lear said.

The American Cancer Society's Lufkin office says they think the girl's charitable work is great, and are very impressed with the girl's initiative to help aid cancer research.

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