Build-A-Bear’s Huggable Heroes Program Rewards Giving Children

giving organizations

Brands have great charitable outreach partnerships that make it easy for kids to give. But, fewer of them have programs that reward kids for their own community service efforts. Build-A-Bear does both in spades.

I was so impressed with their community involvement and mission that I took the brand up on their offer to treat my boys to a workshop and got the low down from the manager about their Huggable Heroes contest first hand (nominations due February 26).

I won't lie to you. I didn't think Build-A-Bear was for us. One, because I thought my boys were the wrong audience for the store. And two, because somewhere in the back of my mind I was afraid they might like it and I'd have to fork out money on a regular basis to meet their bear-building needs. But I thought again and figured if they could be addicted to WebKinz, why wouldn't they enjoy building their own bear—or bunny and dog as it turned out! And, to calm my nerves about the addiction, well... I could always say no, right? I am the mom after all. So off we went!

The process was simple.

  1. Select a "bear."
  2. Choose a sound. I loved this part the best, but didn't realize we could record ourselves until after, which may be all the reason we need for repeating the workshop experience. Your own voice in a bear, or dog, or bunny. What's not to love about that, right?
  3. Pump stuffing into your bear for a strong or fluffy result.
  4. Give your bear a heart. Loveable bears are all the rage. No tin man Build-A-Bears for the Pattee boys!
  5. Primp and pamper your new BFF at the bath and brush station.
  6. Dress it. Who knew Chase liked Nascar! The things Build-A-Bear teaches you about your kids.
  7. Finally, name it. Bunny was "christened" Chocolate before we even arrived at the store and the Nascar racer dog became "James." I was rooting for something along the lines of Bubba or Joe Dean, but I had no influence.

The last station before leaving was informal and totally for me—a chat with the manager to learn more about the Huggable Heroes program. Here's what I learned and how you can participate:

  1. Visit a Build-A-Bear store or click here on the website between now and February 26 to pick up or download a Huggable Heroes nomination form/entry rules and requirements.
  2. Complete the simple form for a person you know between the ages of 8 and 18 who is making a difference in his or her community.
  3. Mail the form and required entry items in postmarked no later than Friday, February 26. That's this Friday, folks!

Is this worth doing? Absolutely! Ten Huggable Heroes will be rewarded with, among other goodies, $10,000, which is divided up into a $7,500 college scholarship and $2,500 for the cause of their choice.

I give Build-A-Bear a million stars, two thumbs up, 9 paws (my favorite number), or a high rank of your choice for their ability to provide the perfect family fun activity while at the same time both offering kids with community involvement opportunities and encouragement and rewards for their service and individual outreach!

Disclosure: My family provided the bear-building excitement and enthusiasm and Build-A-Bear offered us the amazing memory-building opportunity. I highly recommend the experience to anyone with kids young or old. I barely made it out of the store without making one of my own! A St. Patrick's Day bear. Are you kidding me? How did I resist?
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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