It's better to give, than to receive.

We hear that a lot, but how many of us actually put it into practice?

Studies show it helps the person offering the act of kindness as much as it does the person receiving it.

In our special report, "Pay it Forward," WDBJ7's Kimberly McBroom introduces us to a special little girl who's already learned that valuable lesson.

Evelyn Anderson may dance like a princess, but she's no diva.

As her eighth birthday was approaching, Evelyn decided she didn't want any presents.

"I, instead of doing presents, I thought it would be nice to give donations," said Anderson.

Evelyn's dance teacher is the program manager at Sabrina's Place, a supervised visitation and exchange program for families that have experienced domestic violence, child abuse and other rough situations.

It relies on donations for things like toys, games, toiletries and office supplies.

So, Evelyn decided on her own to mail the wish list for Sabrina's Place with her birthday party invitations.

"And she, when I asked her about it, when I asked her why she chose Sabrina's Place, she just said that she was looking around in her room and realized that she had enough things and she wanted to do something to give back," said Sammi Rader.

Doing something nice for others usually makes most of us feel pretty good, but research shows it can actually make us happier and even healthier.

Dr. Christopher Buchholz teaches a class called "The Meaning of Life" at Roanoke College.

His students learn how doing for others, or paying it forward enriches their own lives.

"From my research into that it seems that one of the key components to happiness is helping others, friendships, relationships, and if you look at all of the major religions, helping others is the key component," said Dr. Christopher Buchholz.

Dr. Buchholz says helping others boosts our mood and self-esteem.

It also helps us long- term by improving our immune system and cardiovascular health.

When we caught up with Evelyn, she was practicing her SOLO routine.

But it's clear that she thinks of others, and hopes to inspire them, as well.

"I'd say to like probably instead of just getting stuff for yourself and getting more stuff, be thankful for what you have," said Anderson.

While she's got about another year to think about it, Evelyn says she might donated her birthday presents to others, from now on.

If you need ideas on how to pay it forward, we found some from "Psychology Today."

Those include shoveling your neighbor's driveway after a storm, baking cookies for a neighbor, visiting an older family member or giving a waiter an extra large tip.