By Lauren Lipton

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some 37,000 teens and pre-teens from all over the country were nominated for the Kohl’s Cares scholarship program, and several from our area won regional awards for their volunteer efforts.

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“I was just, like, totally psyched to get a letter saying, ‘Congratulations, Nikolas Toocheck, you’re the Kohl’s Kids regional winner,’ and I was just so psyched out.  It was awesome.”

Eleven-year-old Nikolas Toocheck of West Chester, Pa. set up Running the World for Children, running marathons to raise money for Operation Warm, providing kids in need with new winter coats.

“I’ve been to a few coat distributions, and it feels so good inside to see their faces when they’re presented their coat, and it’s just amazing the look on their face,” Nik notes, adding modestly, “So far, I’ve raised about $40,000 for the charity.”

Other regional winners in our area are 12-year-old Luke Sliwinski of Warminster, Pa.; Brooke Rhea of Lower Gwynedd, Pa.;  Stephanie Masapollo of Sicklerville, NJ; Eric Long of Hockessin, Del.; and Alexa Olah of Easton, Pa.

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Kohl’s Deparrtment Stores awards all of the regional winners $1,000 scholarships.

“You don’t have to be big to make a difference,” Nik says.  “You don’t have to be an adult to be helping people.  You can be my age.  Even the littlest thing will do a big impact.  It’s important for kids to get out there and try to help people.”

And, for this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

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