Ten Young Leaders Named 2011 Huggable Heroes; Build-A-Bear Workshop Awards $100,000 to Group

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - Jun 2, 2011) - The numbers are staggering: 10 tons of fresh produce; 29,000 books; 25,000 brown bag lunches; 10,700 gift boxes; 2,500 sports uniforms; 250 soccer balls; 31 drinking wells; 18 homes; eight soccer fields and four school libraries. All of this, and more, donated and built by 10 young people, ages 12 to 18, who have been selected as the 2011 Build-A-Bear Workshop® Huggable Heroes®.

Build-A-Bear Workshop received approximately 1,200 entries in its eighth annual search for Huggable Heroes which rewards youths for giving back to their communities, their schools and our world. After months of evaluation, 10 young leaders from the United States and Canada have risen through the ranks. Each will be awarded a $10,000 USD prize (a $7,500 USD educational scholarship and $2,500 USD from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation to be donated to the 501(c)(3) charity or Canadian cause of the Huggable Hero's choice). In addition, they will travel to Build-A-Bear Workshop World Bearquarters in St. Louis, Mo., from July 20-22, to be honored for their achievements.

"These 10 young people elevate the bar on giving," said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop founder and chief executive bear. "They selflessly accept challenges and devote their time and energy to make a difference. They demonstrate kindness, compassion and leadership and motivate grassroots change."

Collectively, these dedicated young people have founded five nonprofit organizations, traveled to Africa, India, Honduras and Mexico, raised more than half a million dollars, volunteered nearly 600 hours each month and recruited thousands of supporters to help with their causes. These numbers keep rising as they continue to provide fresh produce and deliver lunches to help feed children and families in need, improve the quality of education in the United States and developing nations, support children with cancer and other chronic illnesses, build soccer fields, libraries and drinking wells and inspire youth all over the world to follow in their footsteps.

Following are the 2011 Huggable Heroes and their stories. As the eighth class of Huggable Heroes, they join a distinguished group of more than 100 other Huggable Heroes who have accomplished many great things. Information is also available online at: http://heroes.lovehugssmiles.com/

2011 Huggable Heroes

Jasmine Brown, 18, Chesapeake, VA
Jasmine started a program called Today's Readers, Future Leaders to collect books and school supplies for children in need. She devotes approximately 60 hours per month to gathering, cleaning, sorting and delivering books and supplies where needed. So far, Jasmine has collected more than 6,000 items for her program.

Justin Churchman, 18, El Paso, TX
Justin helps build houses for the homeless in Juarez, Mexico. His efforts include raising $48,000 for building materials by making presentations to organizations and contacting business owners. He also has recruited 75 volunteers to assist. To date, his efforts have helped build 18 homes.

Nicholas Marriam, 18, Clayton, NC
Nicholas founded and helps run the Nickelby Project which provides comfort items and gift bags to children with a chronic or life threatening illness. He manages all aspects involved in running a nonprofit foundation including fundraising, securing sponsors and coordinating volunteers. So far, the Nickelby Project has delivered more than 10,000 gift bags.

Cassidy Megan McCarthy, 12, Halifax, NS
Four years ago, Cassidy Megan founded Purple Day for Epilepsy to promote epilepsy awareness. Purple Day has partnered with the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia and the Anita Kaufmann Foundation in the United States. Purple Day is now recognized internationally with supporters in Spain, Iran, Australia, Madrid, England, Africa, Cyprus and other countries worldwide.

Shannon Hill McNamara, 18, Basking Ridge, NJ
Shannon founded Shannon's After-School Reading Exchange (SHARE) to empower girls in Africa through education. She has volunteered in Tanzania to create and fill libraries with donated books. To date, she has raised $200,000 for four libraries, collected 23,000 books and brought electricity to three schools.

Armin Mohammadi, 17, Richmond Hill, ON
After traveling to Honduras to help build an extension on a hospital, Armin created A Pencil for a Student, A Future for a Nation, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of education in developing nations. Armin has also volunteered more than 1500 hours at the Sunnybrook Hospital, York Central Hospital and Mariann Elderly Home.

Deventae Mooney, 15, Coeburn, VA
Deventae volunteers as coach and referee for youth sports, tutors summer school students, raises money for cancer patients and delivers lunches (24,000 to date) to children in need during the summer. He has raised $21,000 to benefit youth sports and more than $20,000 for Relay for Life and other organizations that benefit cancer patients.

Shaun Stokes, 17, River Falls, WI
Shaun co-founded Grow-to-Share to provide fresh produce to local food shelters to help feed those in need. He recruits volunteers to help plant, harvest and maintain gardens. Shaun organizes an annual pancake breakfast fundraiser to cover expenses. Grow-to-Share has donated more than 10 tons of fresh produce.

Kyle Weiss, 18, Danville, CA
Kyle co-founded FUNDaFIELD.org when he was just 13 years old to raise money to help build soccer fields for kids in Africa. FUNDaFIELD.org has raised more than $138,000, constructed eight soccer fields in Africa, held four soccer tournaments, and delivered uniforms, soccer balls and other necessary supplies.

Rujul Zaparde, 16, Plainsboro, NJ
Rujul co-started Drinking Water for India to build tube-wells in rural India. He speaks across the country to encourage involvement and support. Now, 23 schools support Drinking Water for India and, to date, the organization has raised more than $35,000 and built 31 wells in India, providing access to clean water for 55,000 villagers.

About Build-A-Bear Workshop
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 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and Mexico. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. Brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball® mascot in-stadium locations, and Build-A-Dino® stores. Build-A-Bear Workshop extends its in-store interactive experience online with its award winning virtual world website at Bearville.com™. The company was named to the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for the third year in a row in 2011. Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $401.5 million in fiscal 2010. For more information, call 888.560.BEAR (2327) or visit the company's award-winning website at buildabear.com®.

We would like to thank you for your interest in covering our business. As you write your story, we would ask that you use our full Name: Build-A-Bear Workshop® and that when referencing the process of making stuffed animals you use the word "make" not "build."

Build-A-Bear Workshop is our well-known trade name and our registered trademark of Build-A-Bear Retail Management, Inc. Build-A-Bear Workshop® should only be used in capital letters to refer to our products and services and should not be used as a verb.

To view a media-rich version of this release, go to: http://www.pwrnewmedia.com/2011/build-a-bear-workshop/huggable_heroes_2011/index.html

Contact Information:

Katie Zeidman
Blick & Staff Communications
314-727-5700 x 107

Kris Brill
Blick & Staff Communications