ST. LOUIS (Jan. 20, 2010) -- Today, more than ever, young people are stepping up to make a difference in communities near and far. More than 55 percent of American teenagers have volunteered for public service projects, according to a study from the Corporation for National & Community Service. That is more than double the rate of adults. And more than two thirds of schools nationwide now offer service opportunities for students.
Build-A-Bear Workshop® has taken a leading role in recognizing efforts of young people to help those in need through its Huggable Heroes® program. Huggable Heroes are young leaders who Build-A-Bear Workshop recognizes, honors and cele-bear-ates each year for providing extraordinary service in their communities and around the world. The seventh annual search for these special people, ranging in age from eight to 18, is now on. Anyone and everyone, ages eight and above, are eligible to nominate a candidate (and kids can nominate themselves) by visiting buildabear.com/huggableheroes or by picking up an entry form at a participating Build-A-Bear Workshop store in the United States and Canada. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 26, 2010.
Throughout the years, Build-A-Bear Workshop has heard thousands of amazing stories of young people who do things both big and small to help improve other peoples’ lives. Projects have ranged from helping children in underdeveloped countries to supporting cancer and diabetes research, organizing toy drives and sending care packages to our troops overseas. Past Huggable Heroes have included such inspiring young people as:
Patrick Pedraja, 13, of Palm Harbor, Fla., who helped add 15,000 new donors to the National Marrow registry and raised $160,000 to support the effort. Patrick demonstrated uncommon creativity and entrepreneurship by selling ads on his bald head and by speaking to groups and businesses to encourage others to get involved.
Mimi Ausland, 12, of Bend, Ore., who created two Web sites to help collect donations to feed homeless dogs and cats in animal shelters across the country.
And Katie Stagliano, 10, of Summerville, S.C., who started “Launch Katie’s Dream” to help see to it that no child goes hungry. She plants vegetable gardens and donates the harvests to soup kitchens and organizations that help feed those in need.
Recognition inspires others
“I think we are looking at another Greatest Generation,” said Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder and Chief Executive Bear Maxine Clark. “Our challenge is to find more kids like Patrick, Mimi and Katie who are stepping up to help in so many creative ways. By telling their stories through our Huggable Heroes program, we know we can inspire many others to do the same at a time when citizen service is needed most.”
This year, Build-A-Bear Workshop will recognize 10 Huggable Heroes. Each will receive a prize worth $10,000 ($7,500 in the form of an educational scholarship and $2,500 from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation to be donated to the 501(c)(3) charity of each Huggable Hero’s choice). In addition, the Huggable Heroes will win a trip for themselves and a parent to St. Louis, the home of Build-A-Bear Workshop World Bearquarters. During their visit, the 2010 Huggable Heroes will meet each other, be honored for their good deeds and participate in a photo shoot for the 2011 Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes Calendar.
About Build-A-Bear Workshop
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the leading and only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. Founded in 1997, the Company and its franchisees currently operate more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. In 2007, the interactive experience was enhanced - all the way to CyBEAR™ space - with the launch of buildabearville.com®, the company’s virtual world stuffed with fun. The company was named to the 2009 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $468 million in fiscal 2008. For more information, call 888.560.BEAR (2327) or visit the company’s award-winning Web site at buildabear.com ®.
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