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How this little girl with a big heart is inspiring adults: ‘I want them to be happy’

Posted at 6:37 PM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-19 21:23:49-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- Kids can be predictable. Put them on a playground and they play. Place a TV camera in front of them and most will perform.

But sometimes, like in the case of Juliette Martinez-Jones, kids surprise and even motivate adults.

The Colonial Heights third-grader is showing others how to attract happiness through giving.

Juliette shies away from the spotlight, but she can't hide her big heart.

The eight-year-old gave up her birthday party two years in a row to help others.

“I gave to the animal shelter last year and this year I gave to the school,” said Juliette.

Instead of gifts, she collected donations for her classmates at Tussing Elementary.

Pencils, paper, notebooks, and rulers may sound like a back-to-school list, but it was just a few of the many school supplies Juliette donated. She also donated more than $300 to the school's PTO.

"School makes me happy and I wanted to donate to the school, so they’d be happy too,” said the energetic 8-year-old.

School Principal Remus James says the generous donation caught him by surprise.

“This is my 25th year in education and this is the first time that I’ve experienced a student at this age willing to sacrifice their own birthday presents,” said James.

Juliette, affectionately known as Juju to family and friends, is described as loving, happy, and bubbly.


Juliette’s mom, Sarah Martinez, said donating to the school was Juliette’s idea.

“She’s always been a sharing, caring kid,” Martinez said. “I don’t know too many kids that would give up a birthday.”

Juliette is solution-focused; it's the reason math is her favorite subject in school.

“Because we can figure out problems,” said Juliette.

She even gives the hair off her head to help others in need.

"She’d watch the little kids on TV talk about how they had cancer and she would ask me how come they don’t have hair. I tell her that the medicine makes them sick so they can’t grow their hair right. She told me that she wanted to cut her hair… she wanted to give to them.

"I want to grow my hair back so I can cut it again, again, and again, and again, and again, and again,” said Juliette. So other people can have hair too."

It's a spirit of selflessness that can only make her mom smile.

“It’s heartwarming to know that we can grow kindness inside our home," said Martinez.

For that kindness all Juliette really wants in return is to make others happy.

"I want them to be happy and I want them to give their stuff away too," she added.

Juliette says she is already thinking about who she's going to help on her next birthday. She hasn't decided what she's going to do yet-- but she's researching ideas with her mom.