In just a few days, some “pawsome” young leaders are coming to St. Louis to be cele-bear-ated and I can hardly wait.  Those of you who read my blog know that to me heroes are  teachers, astronauts, community leaders–people who put others first! What makes them heroes you might ask? They have selflessly accepted the challenge to do their part to make their communities, schools and our world a better place. These young leaders are heroes in my mind, and at Build-A-Bear Workshop, we call them our Huggable Heroes.

We will have the privilege to honor and learn from 12 amazing individuals between the ages of 7-18 from the United States and Canada, as well as two of our beary own store associates, who have done a variety of things from helping animals and combating hunger, to supporting military troops, raising funds and awareness for medical conditions and disabilities, and helping children, countries and communities in need.

What I find most amazing is that collectively, our 2009 Huggable Heroes have raised funds and gathered items valued at more than $16 million and have volunteered more than 6,000 hours of their time throughout the year. And to think they have done all of this on top of going to school, playing sports, being involved in extracurricular activities, spending time with family and friends and just being kids.

While the Huggable Heroes are in St. Louis they will participate in leadership activities and work on a community service project to help a local St. Louis public school, Mason Elementary, get ready for the new school year. They will share their stories, network with one another and meet some truly incredible role models, one being Charles Best, Founder of Donorschoose.org.

DonorsChoose.org is an amazing organization that grew out of a Bronx high school where teachers experienced first-hand the scarcity of learning materials in public schools. Charles, then a social studies teacher, sensed that many people would like to help public schools in need, but were frustrated by a lack of influence over what would be done with their donations. Thus, DonorsChoose.org was created so that individuals like you, me, anyone and everyone, can connect directly with classrooms in need and help make sure that students in every community have the resources necessary to learn. What I love about DonorsChoose.org is that they empower teachers and those they term, “citizen philanthropists,” to become change makers. All of our Huggable Heroes, past and present, are “citizen philanthropists” in their own right. The 2009 Huggable Heroes will not only learn a lot from Charles, but I think they will teach him a few things as well.

To our 2009 class of Huggable Heroes, our 6th class — Bilaal, Brittany, Christine, Cody, Jenny, Katie, Kaylee Marie, Kendall, Max, Mimi, Patrick, Robbie — you are leaders in the truest sense. And, a special shout out to Coreen and Kim, this year’s store associate Huggable Heroes. You all are joining an amazing group of five classes of Huggable Heroes that have gone before you. They continue to grow their projects and impact others. I know this is just the beginning for all of you and I hope you see this time as a jumping off point to continue to cultivate your skills and grow your heart even more. I won’t be surprised to see many of you leading our country and our world into a very bright future.

Hugs and heartfelt thanks,

love hugs peace

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3 Responses to “LEADERS HUG THE WORLD”

  1. NewsReporter101 Says:

    Dear Maxine,
    I LOVE you blog! I am a fellow BABV Citizen and i was wondering if you could visit my blog at babv365.wordpress.com! Thanks Soo Much!


  2. babvcutie72 Says:

    Have a bearrific time! Sounds fun! I also admire the Huggable Heros!

  3. abbeyallheart9405\savannah Says:


    not babv365.wordpress.com, if you wanted her to just click on it. lol

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