DERRY — Shaley Nolan couldn’t wait for her birthday this year.
She wasn’t excited to open piles of presents, but to help others in need.
Shaley turned 10 on Sept. 16 and instead of having her family and friends bring gifts to her party last weekend, she wanted them to donate money to support Marguerite’s Place in Nashua, a shelter that helps homeless women and their children.
Shaley wants to raise $300 to help buy toys for children at the shelter who may not have as many nice things as she does.
“They gave us a list of what they need,” she said.
Shaley said about 30 people were invited to her party, including friends and neighbors.
“My friends, they all think (what I’m doing) is really nice,” she said. “Some said they wanted to bring me a gift also.”
Shaley’s mother, Karen Collinsworth, said having her daughter turn 10 this year was a big deal for the family, a “milestone” day in the life of her child.
When Shaley announced she wanted to trade gifts this year to help out a charity, her mother was impressed.
“I thought that was wonderful, but also wondered if this was actually true,” Collinsworth said. “For the past four weeks Shaley has held firm that for this special birthday all she wants is to help other children that are struggling or in need.”
Shaley was named a “Hero of the Day” at Ernest P. Barka Elementary School for her efforts to help those in need.
Assistant principal Stephanie Pike said the entire school is very proud of the third-grader.
“Shaley is a fantastic student, who is kind to others and strives to make good choices at school and in the community,” Pike said. “She is a wonderful role model and comes to school every day with a positive attitude.”
Shaley said her friends and school are helping with her mission.
“My teacher Mrs. (Lori) Watson gave me a donation,” she said.
Collinsworth said she is very proud of her daughter and her giving spirit.
“I am thrilled that Shaley is thankful for all she has, and is so excited to help others,” she said.