Cuddles for Kids

Conner Hagins, a Bishop McCort Catholic High School senior who initiated the Cuddles for Kids toy drive nine years ago, poses next to a statue at the school.

Conner Hagins, a senior at Bishop McCort Catholic High School, has been named one of two state honorees in the 20th Annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

The 18-year-old was nominated for the award by the school.

In 2006, Hagins started Cuddles for Kids that collects stuffed animals and other toys for children in need and raises money for a variety of children’s causes.

Over the past nine years, Cuddles for Kids has delivered more than 85,000 toys, not only to children in the hospital, but also to orphanages, child service agencies and organizations in third world counties.

In addition, Hagins has collected school supplies and hygiene items for at-risk youth, and donated more than $5,000 to provide after-school meals to children in need, support pediatric cancer research and assist other initiatives that benefit children.

As a state honoree, Hagins will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in May to Washington, D.C., where he’ll join the top two honorees from each of the other states for four days of national recognition events.

During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2015.

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