ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - January 14, 2011) - A recent survey shows that today's youths are more in touch with the needs of their communities than ever before. In a poll conducted by Build-A-Bear Workshop® (NYSE: BBW), 98 percent of the 400 young people responding said it is important to help others.
Through its Huggable Heroes® program, Build-A-Bear Workshop recognizes and encourages young leaders, ages eight to 18, who provide extraordinary service in their communities and around the world. The eighth annual search for these special people is now on! Anyone, ages eight and above, is eligible to nominate a candidate (and kids can nominate themselves) by visiting http://www.lovehugssmiles.com/HuggableHeroes.aspx or by picking up an entry form at participating Build-A-Bear Workshop stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 28, 2011.
Entries will be narrowed down to 75 semi-finalists in March and to 25 finalists by the end of April. Ultimately 10 new Huggable Heroes (eight from the United States and Puerto Rico and two from Canada) will be selected to join the ranks of more than 100 other amazing youths from the previous seven years. Each new Huggable Hero will receive a $7,500 scholarship toward his or her college education and a $2,500 donation from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation for a 501(c)(3) charity or Canadian cause of his or her choice. In addition, the Huggable Heroes will win a trip for themselves and a guardian to St. Louis, Build-A-Bear Workshop World Bearquarters.
"Our Huggable Heroes program was born of the desire to encourage and reward young people to give back to their communities," said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder and Chief Executive Bear. "While the monetary prize provides an incentive, it also represents an investment in both the causes these kids support and their education so they can continue to cultivate their leadership skills and achieve even bigger goals."
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. Some of last year's Huggable Heroes included inspiring young leaders like:
Charles R. from Castleton, New York, who started Literacy Education for All People, a multi-year initiative to help reduce illiteracy and increase literacy education and awareness on local and global levels. Through his initiative, he has distributed more than $6 million worth of educational supplies, both in the United States and abroad.
Alaina P. from Lake Country, British Columbia, who founded Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan, an organization that raises funds to educate girls in Afghanistan. To date, she has helped raise more than $137,000 through silent auctions, bottle drives and other events.
And Melissa M. from Mililani, Hawaii, United States, who is president of Kids Helping Kids with Diabetes, an organization that educates, raises funds for research and provides support services to people with Type I diabetes. Melissa has collected more than $121,000 in funds and grants which she has donated to the Hawaii Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. 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, and Ireland and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and Mexico. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. Brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball® mascot in-stadium locations, and Build-A-Dino® stores. Build-A-Bear Workshop extends its in-store interactive experience online with its award winning virtual world Web site at www.buildabearville.com. Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $394.4 million in fiscal 2009. For more information, call 888.560.BEAR (2327) or visit the company's award-winning Web site at www.buildabear.com.
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