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Amazing Kids! of the Month

Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!

Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things.  We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements. 

Amazing Kids! of the Month for March, 2005: 
Amazing Huggable Heroes, U.S.A.

Amazing Kids! of the Month - Huggable Heroes!

Quotes of the Month

"I believe that if you have a dream, you need to go forward and follow your dream. Kids can do anything that they put their mind to do."

   Jeff Lambin, age 14
Huggable Hero, Eagle Scout, and Founder of Kids Karts

"The success of the programs isn’t measured in cash donations or bags of yarn. It’s the hours of work put in by more than 400 volunteers across the country. And of course the biggest success is when the afghans and bags are in the hands of the kids who need them."

Erin Rosen-Watson, age 16
Huggable Hero and Founder of Erin's Helping Hands

"I started Kids Helping Kids with Asthma in May 2002, along with my brother John-Henry.  We both have asthma, mine is 'exercised induced' and his is 'severe'. While we were in school, they was never enough information about asthma and what triggered it. We decided that kids and families needed to learn more about it, so that it can be controlled with the proper medication and education."

Rachael Lambin, age 14
Huggable Hero and Founder of Kids Helping Kids With Asthma

With the chill of winter still in the air, it's always nice to cuddle up with a warm teddy bear. They're just so huggable! Our March Amazing Kids! of the Month happen to be huggable too, but for different reasons! They have each received the "Huggable Heroes" award from Build-A-Bear Workshop®, a company with mall-based retail stores where customers have fun building their own teddy bears.

Build-A-Bear Workshop launched the yearly awards program last year in order to recognize and honor children and teens across America who are making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. Amazing Kids! is proud to note that several of these Huggable Heroes were also featured as Amazing Kids! of the Month in previous years.  They include: 

Each Huggable Hero received a monetary donation to their cause from Build-A-Bear Workshop and are featured in the Huggable Heroes Calendar, available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores.  Be sure to check out the "Related Links" section at the end of the story to find out how you can nominate yourself or someone you know to be the next "Huggable Hero."  But you'd better be quick!  The deadline for this year's nominations is March 14!

We hope their stories will inspire you to explore ways you can help out in your own community, or help improve the lives of others, so you too can become the next "Amazing Kid" and the next "Huggable Hero!"

And don't forget, if you, or a young person (or persons!) you know, has an amazing project you are involved in, or a special skill, talent or ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it!  Teachers are invited to nominate their entire classroom and the amazing projects they are working on too!  Simply complete our new online nomination form for the Amazing Kid! of the Month award, or email us! 

Table of Contents 

Amazing 2004 Huggable Heroes:  Individual Winners

Amazing 2004 Huggable Heroes:  Group Winners

Related Links:  Nominate a Huggable Hero! and Build-A-Bear Workshop website

Amazing Huggable Heroes:  Individual Winners
(reprinted with permission from the Build-A-Bear Workshop website)
Huggable Heroes Winners 2004

Shannon M.
Literacy Volunteer

Shannon figures that she has volunteered 2,150 hours of her time leading adult and youth literacy and education programs. Her passion for participation began at age 8 when she took her llamas to nursing homes to interact with the elderly residents. With enthusiasm and commitment, Shannon, now 16, has lead numerous educational endeavors that include outdoor workshops to acquaint kids to the wonders of wildlife as well as monthly themed parties at the public library that introduce kids to the fun of reading.

"Because Shannon understands the power and privilege of community service, she is a Huggable Hero."

Rachael L.
Asthma Educator

Rachael was motivated to act after her younger brother John-Henry was hospitalized with a respiratory emergency. Rachael created "Kids Helping Kids", a program that educates the community about asthma and funds support programs including a summer camp she organized. Rachael has volunteered over 2,400 hours and raised $15,000 teaching, writing and illustrating children's books that educate the public about the challenges asthmatic kids face every day. Last May, Rachael was invited to speak before the House of Representatives to promote a bill that empowers asthmatics to carry their life-saving medications with them at all times.

"Because Rachael uses her time and artistic talent to help kids breathe easier, she is a Huggable Hero."

William D.
Arts for the Elderly

Because of William's personal experience dealing with the pain and discomfort associated with an immune disorder, he began volunteering at local nursing homes. William not only related to the residents' physical pain, he could see the negative effects caused by a lack of emotional and intellectual stimulation. William acted by creating FAME (Fine Arts Motivating the Elderly). Last year, William recruited businesses, community groups and concerned citizens who helped him provide over $30,000 of arts and crafts materials to nursing homes in 10 states. William also formed partnerships with schools engaging other kids in community service projects that assisted the elderly.

"Because William turned his personal experience into a compassionate program of creative expression, he is a Huggable Hero."

Dominique L.
Animal Activist

Dominique has always loved animals. But after hearing a guest speaker at her school talk about endangered animals, Dominique turned her passion into furry fundraising action. Last year, Dominique, with the help of her good friend Ashley, collected donations from businesses and kids at school. They sold lemonade, artwork and animal photography. Dominique even created and presented a proposal to her principal persuading him to have a fundraising photo booth at the school carnival. With the support of her father, friends and business donations, she raised $500 in just one evening.

"Because Dominique turned her love of animals into a fundraising drive to help save endangered wildlife around the world, she is a Huggable Hero."

Brooke R.
Toys for Teens Founder

Brooke regularly works with the "Toys for Tots" program by singing in toy stores while US Marines collect donations. When the Marines told Brooke that they constantly run short of gifts for teens, she was motivated to act. She knew that in many households, teens are relied upon to support their families. They deserved to be rewarded, if only in a small way. With the approval of the local Marine Corps Reserves, Brooke founded "Toys for Teens." She promoted the program within her community, collected donations of toys and money and used her gift of music to perform on behalf of underprivileged teens. Brooke's singing was even broadcast on Radio Disney which encouraged other young performers to get involved and experience the joy of giving. Nearly 3,000 teens have received holiday gifts as a result of Brooke's efforts.

"Because Brooke used her talent for singing and commitment to community service to make a difference, she is a Huggable Hero."

Stephanie C.
Mantee Rescuer

When Stephanie read an article about a young manatee's life-threatening encounter with a boat in Florida, she knew she had to act to help these gentle giants of the sea. Stephanie started by creating hundreds of hand-made manatee pins which she sold to family and friends. She then donated all the profits to the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute for their study and preservation efforts. But that was only the beginning. Stephanie made collection boxes that were displayed in local businesses, collected over $1,000 and brought public awareness to the plight of the endangered manatee. As other kids heard of her success, they asked Stephanie how they could get involved so she started "Kids Making A Difference" - a non-profit organization which now has support in Colorado, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. Through Stephanie's example, these kids are involved in community service projects that clean city streets, collect provisions for the homeless and raise funds for endangered species, like her friend the Florida manatee.

"Because Stephanie believes she can make a difference and motivates others to believe as she does, she is a Huggable Hero."

Zachary W.
Friend of Pets and Founder of Parents Involved in Education (PIE)

Zachary is a pet's best friend. He is responsible for rescuing 200 homeless pets and finding homes for 100 of them so far. That is no small furry feat! In 2003, with help from family and friends, Zachary created PIE  (Parents Involved in Education). PIE makes presentations at schools, libraries, Head Start organizations and community groups to raise awareness and funds for the support and expansion of a "no-kill" animal shelter, pet rescue service and wellness clinic called "Friendz for Life Sanctuary." Last year, because of Zachary's efforts, nearly $7,000 of donations were raised. Zachary devotes his time with fund raisers, pet adoption events and seminars that educate others about solutions for pet over-population and how to be a responsible and caring pet owner.

"Because Zachary is a caring and zealous friend to animals and works tirelessly on their behalf, he is a Huggable Hero."

Yana H.
Animal Rescue Club Founder
Yana is involved with a group called the Animal Rescue Network of New England (ARNNE) that rescues dogs from overcrowded shelters in the south where they will most certainly be put to death. The dogs are transported to shelters in New England were they can be adopted into a caring home. Yana wanted to involve her school mates with her fundraising efforts in support of ARNNE so with the help of her mom, Yana founded the Animal Rescue Club which now has over 150 members in grades 1-5. Yana's energy is unleashed! To raise money and collect needed items for animal shelters, Yana holds bakes sales at the monthly Pet Adoption Days in her town. She also does chores at home, raising money which she uses to publish photos of homeless dogs in the local paper. The Animal Rescue Club has collected over $1,000 so far as well as 130 dog collars, 50 leashes, 150 blankets and much more.

"Because Yana is helping find homes for animals and inspiring her school mates to join with her in the effort, she is a Huggable Hero."

Erin R-W
Erin's Helping Hands Founder

When Erin first heard of the unspeakable hardships some kids endure within the Massachusetts' foster care system, she was driven to act. Without hesitation and on behalf of the Department of Social Services Kids Fund, Inc., Erin began a campaign that solicits donations and raises public awareness by talking to schools, civic groups and churches and by sending e-mails and newsletters to community leaders and businesses. The results have exceeded expectations. Erin received donations of soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, socks and underwear as well as "luxuries" such as books, toys and stuffed animals. She built a dedicated organization of more than 300 volunteers that included everyone from her dentist and parish priest to friends, family and local businesses. Together, her team of volunteers sewed and stuffed bags personally designed by Erin. The bags of donated gifts were then hand-delivered every week to hundreds of the 8,000 kids currently in the Massachusetts foster care system.

"Because Erin turned compassion for foster kids into a plan of action, she is a Huggable Hero."

Jennifer T.
Founder, "Dream Reading" library building program

After a visiting an inner-city library two years ago, Jennifer realized that she probably had more books at home than the small elementary school library had on its shelves. Jennifer was motivated to act. She started by organizing a fund-raising campaign called "Dream Reading". To date, Jennifer has raised $15,000 to buy books for inner-city school libraries. Since founding Dream Reading�, local and national foundations and businesses with similar interests have been inspired by Jennifer's story, her commitment and her passion for books.She has received donations from across the country as well as from her local West Michigan community...and it all began with a dream.

"Because Jennifer saw a need and met it head-on and book strong, she is a Huggable Hero."

Amazing Huggable Heroes:  Group Winners
(reprinted with permission from the Build-A-Bear Workshop website)

Kids Karts

Kids Karts and Kids Karts, Express Yourself offers hospitalized children, along with their families, a momentary chance to escape their situation by providing them with the materials and supplies needed to dress up and become a super hero or a princess. Kids Karts, Express Yourself is in 12 pediatric hospitals and cancer centers throughout Nevada and California. They hope to expand to other states and internationally into South America.

Third Grade Class at Charlemagne at Fox Hollow

The third grade class at Charlemagne creatively found a way to get their entire school to participate in a fundraising activity for First Book, a national literacy organization that gives books to children from low-income families. The 48 third graders saved hundreds of rolls of toilet paper and each student was then able donate .50 for a chance to "mummify" a teacher at a school assembly. The event raised $500 for First Book and brought the school together and educated them on the mission of First Book.

The Jolly Rogers Crew at Meadow Gates Farm Sanctuary

The Meadow Gates Farm Sanctuary has succeeded in large part due to this family of four children who have sacrificed much to care and comfort for rescued pet livestock in their rural community. The kids work each morning and evening caring for over 200 animals that reside in the sanctuary by cleaning up after the animals, calming nervous livestock and repairing and mending equipment and fences. Their work has brought greater awareness to the need for humane treatment of farm animals.

Kids Making A Difference

Kids Making A Difference is an organization developed by kids, for kids which bring youth together to have a positive influence on their world. These six kids have done a variety of things which include picking up trash along the road to visiting the elderly. Through a number of fundraisers including a garage and craft sale, they have collected money and needed items for Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute's Stranded Program, which helps stranded dolphins and whales along Florida's coastline.

Operation Iraqi Friendship

These kids, ages 8-15, heard about the school conditions in Iraq and decided to do what they could to provide Iraqi children with the same opportunities they have. They have collected over $10,000 worth of school supplies, toys and toiletries and raised over $1,400 to cover shipping costs and another $700 to make drawstring tote bags to hold the supplies. In addition to school supplies, they have gathered shoes and clothing for the Iraqi children as well. To date, each child has invested between 60 and 300 hours in this project.

Related Links:

Huggable Heroes 2004 Group

Nominate a Huggable Hero! (Deadline March 14, 2005)

Build-A-Bear Workshop website

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A Special Message from Amazing Kids! for all you kids:

It's no secret...every person has an "amazing-ness" inside of them, just waiting to be discovered.  (Sometimes we just need a little help in finding out what that "amazing-ness" is!) 

If you are doing some amazing things too, we want to hear about it!  Send us your stories about your amazing accomplishments, so we can tell the world just how amazing you are!  We are always looking for new stories.  And don't be shy!  We'd love to hear from you!

Here's an idea you might want to try:


If you know someone who needs a little encouragement, why not tell them what you think is special about them?  Maybe you can be the one to help them uncover their own special talents! 

Amazing Kids! is looking for teens to be Amazing Teen Volunteers and Ambassadors . If you'd like to join Amazing Kids! in helping to spread the word, please email us at:


  It's cool to be an Amazing Kid!


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