Twelve Youths Named 2008 Huggable Heroes(R) in Build-A-Bear Workshop(R) International Search for Young Leaders Making a Difference

ST. LOUIS, Jun 18, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Twelve amazing youth leaders from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and France are being honored as Huggable Heroes(R) for doing their part to make their communities and the world a better place. This is the fifth year Build-A-Bear Workshop(R) conducted its annual search for Huggable Heroes, a program that rewards kids for their outstanding acts of generosity and volunteerism and encourages other kids to do the same.

The heroes' stories range from five-year-old Jack Yeilding of Ontario who raises money for the Hospital for Sick Children, to Austin Gutwein, 14 years old of Arizona who started Hoops of Hope to raise funds and awareness for AIDS orphans in Africa. Dallas Jessup, 16, of Vancouver, Washington, is being recognized for her efforts to raise awareness about teen abduction and date rape.

The Huggable Heroes will travel to Washington, D.C., in July to meet each other and share their stories. They will also be featured in the upcoming 2009 Huggable Heroes calendar, available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores this winter. Each will receive $10,000 USD ($7,500 USD in the form of an educational scholarship and $2,500 USD from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation to be donated to the charity of the hero's choice).

As an extra bonus to celebrate the fifth year of the program, the special trip to Washington, D.C., will also reunite all the individual Huggable Heroes from the previous years.

Two Build-A-Bear Workshop Associates are also being recognized for their community service involvement.

"We are so proud of this year's Huggable Heroes," said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder and Chief Executive Bear. "All the nominations we received were wonderful stories of leadership, commitment and determination to help communities and causes around the world. This year's Huggable Heroes are a small sample of the many young people making positive contributions. It is our hope that these stories will inspire others to also do something good."

2008 Huggable Heroes(R), stories and information online at

Anna Rose, 17 years old, Elizabeth, CO

Collects and provides eyeglasses to those in need

Aymeric Dalphin, 11 years old, Puteaux, France

Supports the cause of Ingrid Betancourt and the 3,000 other hostages held by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia)

Austin Gutwein, 14 years old, Mesa, AZ

Raises awareness and funds for AIDS orphans in Africa

Christina Johnson, 17 years old, Bronx, NY

Promotes youth leadership and community involvement through service learning projects

Dallas Jessup, 16 years old, Vancouver, WA

Raising awareness of teen abduction and date rape

Emma Simpson, 11 years old, North Sydney, NS

Raises funds and support for Breast Cancer research

Jack Yeilding, 5 years old, Oakville, ON

Fundraises to support the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

Jasmine Nachtigall, 17 years old, San Mateo, CA

Raises funds for domestic and international causes such as hurricane relief, Self Help for the Elderly and the Asian American Cancer Support Network

Kirsty Ashton, 18 years old, Manchester, UK

Raising funds to grant wishes for sick children

Malka Meisels, 11 years old, London, UK

Helped create a summer camp for children at her school

Michala Riggle, 11 years old, Louisville, KY

Raising funds and awareness for Autism research

Rocco Fiorentino, 11 years old, Voorhees, NJ

Raises funds and awareness for blindness

Huggable Hero Associate

Christopher Kirk, 17 years old - Golden Square, U.K.

Named the 2008 UK Associate Huggable Hero for raising money for cancer research and St. Rocco's Hospice

Huggable Hero Associate

Laura Fischer, 18 years old - Mayfair Mall, Wisconsin

Named the 2008 U.S. Associate Huggable Hero for her efforts to raise money for the American Cancer Society

About Huggable Heroes(R)

In 2004, Build-A-Bear Workshop(R) launched the Huggable Heroes(R) program, each year searching for and recognizing young people making a difference in their communities. Former Huggable Heroes have been honored for their work with such causes as: raising funds for children's cancer and juvenile diabetes research, helping children in underdeveloped countries and helping animals. Huggable Heroes are young leaders who demonstrate strong levels of kindness, compassion and leadership to help make the world a better place.

From December 7, 2007, through February 8, 2008, Build-A-Bear Workshop accepted nominations for 2008 Huggable Heroes in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. Young people were nominated for their volunteer and community service efforts. Nominations were narrowed down to a field of 120 semi-finalists, 31 finalists and now to 12 Huggable Heroes. In addition, two Build-A-Bear Workshop associates have also been selected as Huggable Heroes.

About Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.

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 375 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. Brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball(R) mascot in-stadium locations, Build-A-Dino(R) stores and friends 2B made(R) doll locations. In December 2007, Build-A-Bear Workshop extended its in-store interactive experience online with the launch of its virtual world at Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $474 million in fiscal 2007. For more information, call 888.560.BEAR (2327) or visit the company's award-winning Web sites at and


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SOURCE: Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.

For Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.
Wendy Bain, 314-727-5700 x110 or 314-323-5835
Maureen Blazevic, 314-997-1435 or 314-277-9965