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Pencil Bugs, Bears, and Kids - Oh My!
14-year-old entrepreneur, Jason O'Neill, creator of Pencil Bugs donated 1800 teddy bears to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, California for Christmas 2009
By: Nancy O'Neill
In late July 2009, 14-year-old entrepreneur, Jason O'Neill wondered if he would be able to meet his goal by Christmas. In addition to using a portion of his business earnings to buy teddy bears, he knew he would need additional support from friends, family, and his social network.
By the beginning of November, he had exceeded his goal and had raised enough money to buy 400 bears. The big explosion came the week of Thanksgiving when the local San Diego NBC news (KNSD) interviewed O'Neill about his charity project. The next day, his story hit the home page of MSNBC. Donations poured in from all over the world.
While O'Neill appreciated every dollar he received from so many generous people, he was surprised where a few of the donations came from. A group of 8th grade students at a school in Michigan donated $119 from their bake sale. Three soldiers stationed in Iraq read the story online and sent in their donations. And an American living in Japan also read the news and contributed to the cause.
The O'Neill family quickly learned just how much room 1800 bears take up. They were delivered in 72 large boxes via UPS. Then the fun started because O'Neill wanted to recognize every person who donated so he printed special donation tags and tied one on each of the 1800 bears. Build-A-Bear Workshop also contributed a dozen assorted stuffed animals to the mix. All of the fluffy friends were packed up and delivered to the hospital on December 18, thanks to the generous donation of a large truck, driver, and helper from Hemet Hospice in Hemet, California.
O'Neill continues to live by his motto, "Every little bit helps. Even the smallest effort can make a difference in someone else's life."
To learn more about O'Neill and his business, visit http://www.pencilbugs.com.
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Pencil Bugs Plus is the creation of young entrepreneur, Jason O'Neill, when he was just nine years old. What started in 2005 with the main product, Pencil Bugs, a handcrafted colorful, bug-like pencil topper has become a successful enterprise.
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Page Updated Last on: Jan 11, 2010