First Book's Huggable Hero: Lauren McLester-Davis

Build-A-Bear Workshop's Huggable HeroesBuild-A-Bear Workshop is one of First Book’s generous partners, and we love their Huggable Heroes program, which recognizes young leaders (ages 8 to 18) who are involved with community service projects in their towns and neighborhoods all over the world.

Every year, Build-A-Bear Workshop picks ten inspiring young people from the list of nominees – each of whom receives a $7,500 college scholarship, a $2,500 donation to the charitable cause of their choice, a video camera and a three-day trip to meet other Huggable Heroes.

It’s not too late to nominate a service-minded young person in your family or community! You can nominate someone online.


Lauren McLester–Davis, founder of First Book-Greater Green BayIn fact, we’re such big fans of this project that we decided to nominate a member of the First Book family: Lauren McLester–Davis, age 14, a resident of De Pere, Wisconsin and the founder of First Book-Greater Green Bay (one of many First Book Advisory Boards – local volunteer groups – around the country).

Several years ago, Lauren volunteered as a “reading buddy” for children from low-income homes at a local children’s bookstore in her home of De Pere, Wisconsin. One of her reading buddies told her that he had no books of his own at home. Moved by this, and realizing that her friend was one of many in the greater Green Bay area, Lauren decided to do something to make a difference. She found First Book online, and started a local Advisory Board.

Only a few years later, the Board has raised funds to distribute thousands of books to students at Title I schools and other programs in Green Bay. With her mother’s help, Lauren recently applied for – and won – a $2,500 grant from the Green Bay Packers to help get more books into the hands of children in need.

We love all our big-hearted and hard-working volunteers, but for someone to do so much amazing work for her community at such a young age (First Book is only one of Lauren’s many community service projects) is truly inspiring. Which is why Lauren is our nominee for Huggable Hero.