'Huggable Heroes' Do Good in Community

In honor of Youth Leadership Month this February, Build-A-Bear Workshop is running its ninth annual nationwide search for Huggable Heroes, a program that recognizes inspiring kids ages 8-18 who are doing amazing acts of service in their community and beyond.

Build-A-Bear Workshop is calling all young leaders (age 8-18) in its ninth nationwide search for 10 inspiring kids who have shown a commitment to serve, help others, and make a difference in the community through volunteer work as part of the Huggable Heroes program. Nominations this year are being accepted through Feb. 27.

"Our Huggable Heroes provide us with hope and inspiration year after year through their efforts to hel others," says Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear workshop and chief executive "bear." "It always amazing me to see how creative and passionaite our youth are and how the Huggable Heroes use these skills to help improve the world around us...We are investing in young leaders today to be future leaders tomorrow."

huggable heroes 2011Huggable Heroes 2011 class. Each year, Build-A-Bear Workshop awards $10,000 in academic scholarship and donations to 10 Huggable Heroes. Nominate a kid today!

Since its inception in 2004, Huggable Heroes has recognized three kids from the New York area for their dedication to serving the community:

  • Matthew Krauze volunteers for Puppies Behind Bars, an organization that trains inmates to raise guide dogs for the blind and explosive detection canines for law enforcement, 2006

  • Rafaello Carone spends countless hours education others and raising awareness in support of children's cancer research and has helped grant more than 20 wishes for kids through Make-A-Wish Foundation, 2007

  • Jourdan Urbach is the founder and director of Children Helping Children, an organization that raises funds for cutting-edge research and the eradication of neurological diseases though Concerts for a Cuare, a national benefit, 2010

Huggable Heroes awards each selected "hero" $10,000 total, $7,500 for an educational scholarship and $2,500 to be donated to the kid's charity of choice. The winners will also receive a trip for themselves and a parent to Build-A-Bear Workshop "bearquarters" in St. Louis, where they will have a professional photo shoot, take part in a community service project, and be celebrated for their achievements.

Since 2004, Huggable Heroes has recognized more than 100 kids throughout the U.S. In the last three years alone, "heroes" have raised funds and gathered items valued at nearly $40 million, logging countless hours giving back, launching toy drives, collecting supplies for underserved children, providing relief to victims of natural disasters, sending care packages to soldiers, and starting networks that mobilize and empower kids to help others.

Find out where you and your kids can volunteer in the New York metro area with our guide of where to volunteer, from nursing homes and hospitals to local parks and even horse stables.

To learn more about Build-A-Bear Huggable Heroes and to make a nomination, visit buildabear.com/huggableheroes.