Posts Tagged ‘saint Louis University’


April 11, 2010

Since starting Build-A-Bear Workshop in 1997 I have met some amazing children and their families. Many inspire me to work harder for my community and harder for the less fortunate. Like Taylor Crabtree who has done so much for kids with cancer since she was 7 and now at college or Lucy Amrhein a young, kind caring woman in Maryland.

Our Huggable Hero program was born of this desire to encourage and reward young people to give back to their communities. When a child gives, the return on investment is hugely magnified—maybe by 300 times. Each winner—10 winners per year x the past 6 years wins $2500 for their charity could mean –that could mean per $ invested, we have helped raise $45 million for causes supported by kids…. WOW!! In addition we also give each winner a $7500 scholarship to help pay for their college education.

How did these kids separate themselves in this special way? I have been thinking about this a lot lately and coincidentally ran into my friend Carol Weisman who wrote a book “Raising Charitable Children” and I asked her.  She said,  “Look at your own life Maxine, what most influenced you.”

1)  My mom took me with her to her charitable activities—as much as it wasn’t always my favorite thing, I went and I learned a lot! To Hope School, to sit-ins at the Woolworth’s in DT Miami, to the Democratic Convention in Miami Beach…. So many wonderful memories of things we did together that mattered!
2)  My mom always shared with me how she gave back to the community starting with her work during WWII with Eleanor Roosevelt and Rose Kennedy
3)  My parents raised me with a faith in God and to do the right thing. Again lots of Sunday school classes I didn’t love but they did help me gain a better ethical view of the world. Whether you pass the plate for donations at church or collect change in the Tsedekah box, charity is often an important part of faith based learning, at least it was for me.
4)  We always ate dinner together and talked about our day. Much of my Mom’s day was spent in fund raising and advocacy for children with Down Syndrome
5)  Best of all my parents let me decide what I wanted to give to—how I wanted to make a difference

Pretty simple stuff really but what it gets down to is charity was part of our family culture. We were far from rich but we were billionaires in intellectual curiosity and world wide caring for others. Little did I know how our family culture—those 5 simple acts done over and over, would impact me in my adult life.

This week is a big week for St. Louis and for my husband Bob and me. Casa de Salud, the health and wellness clinic he has masterminded for St. Louis in partnership with Saint Louis University will have its official grand opening this coming Friday. He has done an amazing job and bringing together various health organizations in this collaborative effort. I am so proud of him and his passion for this segment of our underserved population.

Next Sunday I will introduce Talia Leman age 15, a 2007 Huggable Hero (she was almost 12) who will be in St. Louis to speak and inspire children as part of the Lee Institute founded by my recently deceased friend, Des Lee. Talia founded RandomKID and believes that ANYone can stand up and change the world—even a child. She not only raises money to do wonderful things herself but shares her money (over $10 million raised so far) with other children so they can do amazing things too. Truly the power of 1+1=10! Talia’s mom Dana is a wonderful supporter of Talia’s efforts and reminds me in so many ways of my mom and me and the difference we made together.

Today while I was checking my tweets I saw a request for ideas from SVMoms to help families raise charitable children—I had to respond. My suggestion, do it together as a family. The family that volunteers together stays together!

I am putting the outline together for my next book–“Becoming My Mother’s Daughter –Raising a Child With Heart”  Thanks to all the parents and children who have inspired me to live a life of  purpose and sharing.

Hugs to all,



March 25, 2010

This past weekend the Lady Bears of Washington University in St. Louis won their Div 3 National Title against Hope College. It was a great weekend and a great win. The girls really played well and truly won the game totally! It was a proud night. Title IX showed its true value tonight watching these strong, beautiful women play exciting basketball.

We stayed with the team and parents and celebrated their success. It was great to see the men’s team and coaches there as well supporting their team. The men were eliminated in an early round which was very disappointing having been National Champs for 2008-2009. It was a lot like the Kansas loss…unexpected and very sad!

This week it’s basketball big time in St. Louis as the Sweet Sixteen men’s games come to town. It won’t be as exciting without Kansas but many Northern Iowa fans will be in town. Great for business as the tourists also go shopping. The Zoo and the Science Center will sure to have lots of visitors who want to make bears and dinos!

Also great news is that Saint Louis University men are progressing in their CBI Tourney. They won tonight against Princeton and are maturing as a team. They are all young so lots of great basketball in their future.

I am a student of the coaching that goes on in basketball—especially college basketball. I hope these kids will look back on this learning experience as more than just sports coaching and see it as life coaching.

It is officially Spring and I think the consumer has begun to come out of their winter and economic hiatus. The malls are much busier and people are carrying shopping bags and cub condos!! Two big weekends left until Easter. Blossom bunny is a hit and I have to pick up a few extra for Easter basket gifts too. She also has the cutest outfits.

I am in NYC just for the nite and went to a dinner of some very special retailers. It was great to see some old friends and meet some new ones, especially those in the .com space. I learned a lot and look forward to meeting some of these people again soon. It is even more fun to meet people who run companies where you shop and can appreciate their products and their hard work. It is also rewarding to hear all their stories about their kids loving Build-A-Bear Workshop and

Have a great week and Hoppy Easter and have a Pawsome Passover.

Maxine and Blossomtina (my bunny)


March 19, 2010

Ok, it’s a day or so after St. Pat’s Day and true I am not Irish but I feel BEARY lucky. It’s March, my birthday month, it’s almost Spring, It’s March Madness and there seems to be a kick in everyone’s step vs. this time last year. Not that the economy is fixed—far from it and bad news seems to make headlines everyday. I have decided enough already!! We need to get on with making things better—it’s a new normal and using that as a starting point, we are getting better!

We always have fun with St. Pat’s Day at Build-A-Bear Workshop—a cute shamrock bear, leprechaun and Irish dancing outfits abound. Just around the time of my birthday we launched our Easter and Spring merchandise that is the cutest I have ever seen and this weekend we bring back Alvin and add a stuffable Brittany along with her Single Ladies song. She is truly adorable and I love the song—it makes you want to sing and dance!

As many of my friends know, I am a college basketball fan and my favorite teams are local—The Wash Bears and the Saint Louis University Billikens. My husband and I have a great time going to the games, getting to know the parents and the players and watching good teamwork. Wash U men’s lost in the early rounds and it was a shock after being #1 for 2 years. Ladies are onto the semis this weekend in Bloomington, IL and the Billikens are in the CBI tourney and won their first game over Indiana State. Bills should have gotten a NIT bid having had such a good record but the team is young and there is time for them to mature.

Tonight I was getting a manicure and one of my friends was there with her daughter and her friend who I had not yet met. They were very excited BABW fans and boy did they make me smile. Adorable girls—11 and 12 and still love their stuffed animals. AS IT SHOULD BE!!

A new book is just being published that includes BABW—The Risk Takers Some of my favorite brand founders are inside as well as a fellow St. Louisan, David Steward of World Wide Technologies. BEARY cool for St. Louis.

Have a great weekend and good luck to all the teams in NCAA tournies especially the Lady Bears!