Build-A-Bear Wants to Know: Are Your Young Heroes Huggable?

Austin DorrellDiabetes can be a nuisance, not just because of the finger pricks and having to wear an insulin pump.  But Austin Dorrell, age 15 and a sophomore in high school, doesn’t let it slow him down.  Not from singing in his band, The Deep Vs, and certainly not from raising money for juvenile diabetes research – $175,000 so far.

Along with a few dozen other extraordinary young people, Austin has been honored as a Build-A-Bear “Huggable Hero” for his work improving his community and the lives of others. The program highlights the fact that the dedication of young volunteers is a great resource and an energizing force for any nonprofit as it strives to fulfill its mission.

Austin was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was four years old.  Now he uses his experience living with the disease to spread a message of awareness for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). He often performs onstage and has recorded a CD of “A Mother’s Wish,” a song written by his mom to express her feelings about her son’s diagnosis of juvenile diabetes.  All the proceeds from the CD are donated to JDRF. (The compact disc is available for $5.00 on the JDRF website.)

In addition to singing, Austin participates in many walks and other fundraisers for JDRF to help raise money to find a cure for diabetes.  In 2007 Austin was named a Build-A-Bear Workshop “Huggable Hero” for his amazing dedication to community service.  He received $10,000 ($7,500 for an educational scholarship and $2,500 to donate to his cause).

The Huggable Heroes program recognizes and rewards young leaders, ages 8-18, for positive contributions to their communities and the world. Nominations for the 2011 Huggable Heroes program are now being accepted through February 28.

Is there a young person who’s really made a difference for your organization or your cause? Nominate them as a Huggable Hero by visiting the website or picking up an entry form at participating Build-A-Bear Workshop stores.

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