Have you ever helped clean up a park? Maybe you have collected coats and mittens to give to needy families. Schools often hold community-service projects like these. The activities give kids a chance to help others.
Build-a-Bear Workshop has a program that honors kids ages 8 to 18 who have started their own service projects. The winners get money for college and for their projects. They also work together on a community-service project. TFK talked to three of this year's 15 Huggable Heroes.
HELPING THE HOMELESS
What can you do with an old key? You can decorate it, make a necklace with it and sell it to raise money for a good cause.
Clara Pilley, 11, second from left in the picture below, came up with that idea. She wanted to raise money for a homeless shelter in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The shelter gives people a place to live. Kids get a place to play.
Clara's Keys for Hope project has raised more than $25,000. "Volunteering makes you feel good about yourself," she says.
FEEDING THE HUNGRY
Money from sports events and lemonade stands can add up. Just ask Will Lourcey, 9, from Fort Worth, Texas. He has raised more than $20,000 with events like these. The money is used to buy food for a food bank. Will's project is called FROG. It stands for Friends Reaching Our Goals. FROG has donated more than 60,000 meals. How do you help others? "Find a need in your community, get some friends, make a plan, take action and have fun!" Will says.
KEEPING PEOPLE WARM
When Cassandra Lin was 10, she heard that many people who lived near her, in Westerly, Rhode Island, could not afford to heat their homes. She started a project called T.G.I.F. (Turn Grease into Fuel). It turns used cooking oil into heating fuel. The oil comes from homes and restaurants.
Cassandra is now 14. She and T.G.I.F. have helped more than 140 families. They have also helped make recycling cooking oil a law in Rhode Island. "Anyone can make a difference," Cassandra says. "You don't have to be a certain age to start, and you'll never know you can unless you try."