St. Louis--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Build-A-Bear Workshop® and the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation are demonstrating their support for teachers and youth education nationwide and inviting others to celebrate learning and the importance of teachers in the lives of their students by designating March, Hug-A-Teacher Month. To date, the Build-A-Bear Workshop partnership with DonorsChoose.org, combined with a challenge fund established by Company Founder Maxine Clark, has raised over $100,000 to help teachers and students across the country.
The education cele-bear-ation will highlight some of the teacher projects supported by the partnership between Build-A-Bear Workshop, the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation and DonorsChoose.org, which is an organization committed to bettering the lives of children across the nation by supporting public school teachers with funds for classroom projects. In just four months, this partnership has provided over $40,000 in project grants for public schools across the nation and helped fund nearly 4,000 classroom projects.
Introducing the month of cele-bear-ation for education, Maxine Clark said, "I was fortunate enough to have public school teachers who were amazing role models. They inspired and encouraged me to find my passion and follow my dreams. Great teachers are one of the reasons I am who I am today. Making a difference in the life of a child through education is a wonderful gift and a great way to give back to the teachers who made a difference for me. DonorsChoose.org supports and energizes teachers and our partnership with donorschoose.org is a great example of the power of WE."
Kicking off Hug-A-Teacher Month, Build-A-Bear Workshop® is spotlighting teachers who have received "You have been bear hugged" grants through the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation's partnership with DonorsChoose.org. These "hug" grants illustrate the importance of student learning in subjects such as science, math and English.
Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org, commented, "Supporting teachers is a tremendous way to create new learning opportunities for kids in the classroom. Build-A-Bear Workshop has been a great partner and leader by helping us get the word out about our organization and by sharing its impact with others. In fact, since we began our partnership in November, awareness of DonorsChoose.org has grown and Build-A-Bear Workshop along with its virtual world, Buildabearville.com, have been the primary drivers of new visitors to our site."
To further support Hug-A-Teacher Month activities, Maxine Clark is celebrating her 60th birthday this March by making a personal fundraising commitment to education. Instead of birthday gifts, Maxine reached out to her friends and set a goal to raise $60,000 in donations for projects at DonorsChoose.org that support teachers and the children in their classrooms in St. Louis and her hometown of Miami. To date, more than $43,000 has been raised and over 10,000 students have been reached through this effort.
The Hug-A-Teacher activities continue online at buildabearville.com® - the Build-A-Bear Workshop virtual world. Build-A-Bearville™ Guests will notice a "Teachers are Pawsome" Banner in Bear University and will receive a special apple chair for their virtual condo when they click on the teacher's desk in the virtual classroom. Additionally, Guests can print out coloring sheets to give as a thank you to their favorite educators. Build-A-Bear Workshop believes that supporting educators helps students achieve their full potential and is honored to recognize teachers who are the real heroes that shape tomorrow's future. Parental permission may be required for Buildabearville.com. Visit Buildabearville.com for details.
The recently funded "You have been bear hugged" projects, which were originally posted by teachers at DonorsChoose.org, include a grant to a third grade teacher in San Diego that will help students learn math skills and understand why math is important, even outside of the classroom.
Another grant will enable a group of fourth-grade students in Chicago to learn about weather patterns and the science behind weather. The students will create a weather station and use it to gain hands-on experience in how scientists hypothesize and collect data.
In Raleigh, a class of kindergarteners will use their grant to purchase an ant farm that will introduce them to the world of bugs – and to the observation techniques that will turn them into everyday scientists.
And in St. Louis, organic gardening is the focus of a project that will help students learn about living things and how they grow and change. Special grants will also be awarded to teachers in Ft. Wayne, Ind., Ft. Worth, Texas, Seattle and Boston.
Build-A-Bear Workshop® has always had a strong commitment to leave a pawsitive mark on the world. Throughout its 11-year history the Company has given Guests a voice to support causes that are important, helping children, animals and the environment, sharing the hug of a teddy bear wherever needed in their communities and abroad, and recognizing kids doing great things. The Company has already donated over $20 million to these causes.
Build-A-Bear Workshop partnered with DonorsChoose.org to provide teachers with the resources to help students in need to learn and thrive. In November 2008, Build-A-Bear Workshop began selling its first ever Bear Bills™ game cards. Guests who purchased these $10 cards received 10,000 virtual Bear Bills (our online currency) to spend at Buildabearville.com and a virtual ride for their online character. In addition, each Bear Bills game card came with a special code to use on the DonorsChoose.org website to direct $10 per card to a classroom in need in the United States. Guests who went to DonorsChoose.org could select the school project of their choice to receive the $10 donation -- one dollar of which was donated by Build-A-Bear Workshop®, and the remainder was provided by other DonorsChoose.org corporate donors. Now through a special promotional offer, Guest may purchase a Bear Bills game card for $5 and they still have the opportunity to make a $10 donation to DonorsChoose.org
Maxine Clark also provides special DonorsChoose.org/Build-A-Bear Workshop bears to every St. Louis Public School teacher who submits a project on the Web site for the 2008-2009 school year. The partnership with DonorsChoose.org continues throughout the year with Build-A-Bear Workshop. To learn more about DonorsChoose.org in Build-A-Bearville.com go to www.donorschoose.org/buildabear or contact Kirk Smiley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 currently operates 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. Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $468 million in fiscal 2008.
The Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to improving communities and impacting lives through unique philanthropic programs that help children and families, animals and the environment. The Foundation is funded primarily through the sale of purple satin hearts ($1 each) sold in all of our stores.
DonorsChoose.org is an organization committed to bettering the lives of children across the nation by supporting public schools. This nonprofit addresses the scarcity and inequitable distribution of learning materials and experiences in schools by connecting individual classroom needs with donors from across the country. Any individual can search projects by areas of interest, learn about classroom needs, and choose to either partially or fully fund a compelling project.
No matter their contribution size, all donors are treated to a level of service normally reserved for established philanthropists. This includes meaningful choice, full accountability, and portfolio services. Whether making a contribution of $10 or $1,000, an individual can choose to support the specific project that he or she finds most compelling and know that their dollars were spent as directed.
Nationwide, DonorsChoose.org has enabled over $30 million in contributions to public school classrooms, and more than 1.8 million students have felt the impact of more than 115,000 generous individuals.
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