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For more than 125 years, it’s been Hershey’s purpose to make more moments of goodness and be part of heartwarming moments. Whether it’s HERSHEY’S KISSES Chocolates you share with your loved ones or a favorite recipe you make every holiday season, we love seeing how Hershey can help bring you together. But our commitment to create meaningful relationships doesn’t stop with chocolate.

As kids start to grow up, their world changes. They have new interests and passions, as well as challenges and obstacles. That’s why we created the Hershey’s Heartwarming Project, a program dedicated to helping kids and teens develop real connection, inclusion and empathy. Here’s a deeper look at what we’re doing and how you and your family can get involved!

Hershey’s Heartwarming Project

Did you know, that teens today report high levels of stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges? Research has shown, however, that increasing social and emotional competencies like empathy and inclusion and fostering meaningful connections with peers, adults and their community, can improve youth outcomes and well-being.

The Heartwarming Project was created to help kids and teens, ages 12 – 18, build these skills by celebrating the power of connection for youth well-being. Through a multitude of different programs, partnerships and resources, we’re able to help young people prepare for life’s ups and downs— as they learn how to thrive socially, emotionally, academically, and professionally. Want to know how to get involved? Here are some of the ways to make it happen.

What Your Kids Can Do

There are a lot of programs in which your kids or teens can become involved. From anti-bullying efforts to service-learning activities to helping promote kindness and social inclusion, they can connect with like-minded peers and make a positive change in their communities

Hershey’s Heartwarming Project Action Grants

Every year, The Hershey Company awards hundreds of teens a $250 Heartwarming Project Action Grant to jumpstart their ideas to help their school or youth group or community encourage connection, empathy, inclusion and well-being. Take a look at some of last year’s grantees:

Archika D., Washington

“We hold workshops, camps and events directly targeting young people from underrepresented backgrounds and celebrating educational inclusivity and diversity, and a classroom where everyone's voices are heard. The grant will help hands-on workshops that center around STEM for social good, intertwining humanity and kindness with science and technology.”

Gabriella, New York

"Our class won a Heartwarming Project Action Grant, and we used it to host a "Mix it Up" lunch event. Forty students were selected at random to come to a pizza lunch, learn about a world issue, and mix and mingle. This event helped us learn how important it is to get out of our cultural and social bubbles.”

To see more action grant stories, get info on this year’s winners and when we are accepting new entries, visit us here.

Online Events and Summits

Hershey partners with different organizations to host summits and fireside chats. This is a great way for young people to interact, even if they can’t physically meet up during COVID-19.

Snap x Hershey Fireside Chat: Spark Creativity

Learn how young people are creating positive change using social media, by advancing inclusion, empathy and well-being in an increasingly divided world. Watch it here.

Makers of Good Teen Summit 

We gathered teens from all across the US to focus on the issue of social isolation and develop action plans to turn isolation into inclusion where they live. Speakers included celebrities who faced isolation and shared their perspectives on connection and inclusion with teen peers. You can learn more here.

Crisis Text Line

It can be hard as a young person not knowing who to turn to when faced with challenges or mental health concerns. Our partner Crisis Text Line offers empathy and connection for kids and teens on their comfort medium: their smart phone. Anyone can text 741741 anytime to be connected with a free crisis counselor who is ready to provide support.

What You Can Do

As your kids are transitioning in their lives, it’s fair to say you are, too. Trust us, we’re parents ourselves. So we know how delicate life can be raising teenagers. Here are a few resources to help. Because believe us when we say, we’re all in this together.