Six young people from across the United States were honored as Hasbro Community Action Heroes this evening at generationOn's Art of Giving Benefit in New York City.
The six young leaders, ranging in age from 7 to 17, will be recognized for their achievements in volunteer service and their contributions to their communities and the world.
Each of the Hasbro Community Action Hero Award-winners exemplifies Hasbro's commitment to the transformative power of service and embodies generationOn's mission to inspire, equip, and mobilize youth to take action that changes the world and themselves through service.
GenerationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world. As the youth service division of the Points of Light Institute, it brings the nation's leading youth-service organizations and programs together under one umbrella.
GenerationOn's Hasbro Community Action Hero Awards recognize outstanding young people who demonstrate an active history of community service, creative problem-solving skills, peer leadership and a commitment to making a positive difference in their communities. This year's winners include
Riley Hebbard (age 7), Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania – Inspired by a news report about children in a Darfur refugee camp, Riley donated her own toys to an African relief organization, encouraged her friends to do the same and formed her own non-profit called Riley's Toys Foundation. In just two years they have created 10 donation centers and shipped more than 18,000 toys to children in Africa.
Nicholas Lowinger (age 13), Cranston, Rhode Island – When a pair of his old boots didn't quite fit the boy at the homeless shelter who received them, Nicholas resolved to provide new, properly-fitted footwear to youth in shelters across Rhode Island. He founded Gotta Have Sole, an organization which donates new shoes, sneakers, and boots to children in Rhode Island homeless shelters. Today Gotta Have Sole has donated more than 450 pairs of shoes to homeless children.
Jessica Markowitz (age 16), Seattle, Washington – A tireless advocate for global education and social justice, Jessica founded Richard's Rwanda-IMPUHWE when she was 11 years old to support educational opportunities for young girls in the rural area of Nyamata, Rwanda. Jessica's nonprofit, committed to ending the cycle of poverty through education for women and girls, provides scholarships to girls in Rwanda and has already expanded to include seven chapters in Seattle, two on the East Coast and two in Rwanda.
Shannon McNamara (age 17), Basking Ridge, New Jersey – Inspired by her personal motto of "today a reader, tomorrow a leader," Shannon created SHARE, an organization designed to empower African girls through education and overcome cultural bias that discourages female literacy. SHARE has donated 33,000 books to schools in Africa, impacting 8,000 students and teachers. Shannon was recently invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to the White House on International Women's Day, where she spoke about the benefits of helping impoverished girls.
Cameron Payne (age 11), Winston Salem, North Carolina – With a goal of inspiring young people to develop a life-long love for reading, Cameron founded The Children's Book Legacy, which has collected more than 3,000 new and gently-used children's books for his neighborhood library. Cameron's commitment to reading as a pathway to academic skills, leadership training and career exploration is reflected in his efforts to make sure that all children, no matter what their age, abilities or economic circumstances, have the chance to read.
Max Wallack (age 15), Natick, Massachusetts – Max founded a national movement called PuzzlesToRemember which has distributed some 7,000 puzzles to approximately 700 facilitates that care for Alzheimer's patients across America. He is also the science editor of AlzheimerReadingRoom.com, a well-regarded blog for Alzheimer's caregivers and has served as a research intern at Boston University Medical School's Alzheimer Disease Center.
"These inspiring young children stand as shining examples of how volunteering makes it possible for children to become leaders in their communities and Hasbro is proud to recognize their extraordinary accomplishments," said Brian Goldner, president and CEO of Hasbro, Inc. "They have taken their concern for the welfare of others and turned it into actions that have touched the lives of thousands—each of them is a true hero."
The Hasbro Community Action Hero Awards are an integral part of Hasbro's ongoing partnership with generationOn. As its founding partner, Hasbro supports generationOn by lending its expertise through a multi-year $5 million investment by the Hasbro Children's Fund. This critical support helps generationOn provide kids of all ages with the tools and hands-on opportunities to understand the issues in their communities – and to become part of the solution. Through its relationship with generationOn, Hasbro works to fulfill its commitment to the transformative power of service, helping to provide opportunities for volunteerism and service learning for children and youth as a means to improve the academic and life-success of students and support the next generation of engaged global citizens and philanthropic leaders.
"GenerationOn works to empower kids and provide parents, teachers and community leaders with the tools they need to help youth become compassionate leaders and community activists," said Christopher Caruso, executive director of generationOn. "It is our hope that the Hasbro Community Action Hero Award winners inspire other kids around the world to discover their own passion for service and realize that not only can they be part of the solution to the problems that face their communities, but that in fact they can lead the charge for positive change."
GenerationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world. As the new youth division of the Points of Light Institute, generationOn brings together the nation's leading youth service organizations under one umbrella with a mission to inspire, equip, and mobilize youth to take action that changes the world and themselves through service.
About Points of Light Institute
Points of Light Institute inspires, equips and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world. The Institute has a global focus to redefine volunteerism and civic engagement for the 21st century, putting people at the center of community problem solving. We are organized to innovate, incubate and activate new ideas that help people act upon their power to make a difference. Points of Light Institute operates three dynamic business units that share our mission: HandsOn Network, AmeriCorps Alums and generationOn. For more information, visit www.PointsofLight.org.
About Hasbro, Inc.
Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) is a branded play company providing children and families around the world with a wide range of immersive entertainment offerings based on the Company's world-class brand portfolio. From toys and games, to television programming, motion pictures, video games and a comprehensive licensing program, Hasbro strives to delight its customers through the strategic leveraging of well-known and beloved brands such as TRANSFORMERS, LITTLEST PET SHOP, NERF, PLAYSKOOL, MY LITTLE PONY, G.I. JOE, MAGIC: THE GATHERING and MONOPOLY. The Hub, Hasbro's multi-platform joint venture with Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), launched on October 10, 2010. The online home of The Hub is www.hubworld.com. The Hub logo and name are trademarks of Hub Television Networks, LLC. All rights reserved. Hasbro's philanthropic work strives to bring "the sparkle of Hope, the joy of Play and the power of Service" into the lives of the children who need it most through the Hasbro Children's Fund and other initiatives aimed to help children worldwide. Come see how we inspire play through our brands at http://www.hasbro.com.