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We’ve also seen young people leading the way on creating a world that is more inclusive and connected—and want to celebrate their efforts as leaders in their schools and communities. That’s why we created The Heartwarming Project (HWP): to help kids and teens build these skills and celebrate the power of connection for youth wellbeing.

Through The HWP, Hershey supports programs for children and teens with social–emotional, learning-based approaches that improve mental wellbeing and prepare them for success in the workplace. We sponsor an Action Grants Program that supports young people in creating their own waves of change with $250 grants.

This growing program received more than 1,000 applications in 2020 and awarded 500 grants to youth making a difference through inclusion, connection and empathy. In 2020, we saw many applicants focus on racial justice and other inclusion efforts, as well as a significant increase in those focused on combating social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with our partners, we are thrilled to support and help elevate the voices of young people who take action to create more inclusive, empathetic and kind communities.