Over 200,000 Public Votes Determine Canada's Most Inspiring Young Leader
MIKE AND IKE(R) ANTE UP!(TM) Competition Awards Charity Donations To Recognize Extraordinary Young Philanthropists
TORONTO, May 26 /CNW/ - After 200,000 public online votes, 25 year old philanthropist, Kinga Nijlas, who lost her mother this year to ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), has been recognized in the MIKE AND IKE(R) ANTE UP!(TM) competition as Canada's Most Inspiring Young Leader. To recognize her extraordinary efforts, MIKE AND IKE(R) will be making a donation valued at $2,500 in Kinga's honour to the ALS Society of Canada.
Receiving top honours in second and third place are, 21 year old Xiren Wang and 16 and 17 year old teenage duo Chelsea Carroll and Vivienne Moscoco. Xiren uses music therapy to help orphaned and special needs children around the world, while Chelsea and Vivienne have been mobilizing their community to fight cancer together for years. MIKE AND IKE(R) will be making donations valued at $1,500 and $500 respectively, to their charities of choice: Hearts Together for Haiti, and The Canadian Cancer Society.
"This competition highlighted and put a spotlight on 10 awe-inspiring stories of young Canadians driving change in the world, be it in their own backyard or half-way around the globe," said Donald Houston, Senior Brand Manager for the MIKE AND IKE(R) Brand and International Development. "And we were absolutely amazed by the commitment our final winners have in spreading the word about their cause, and living their life with such purpose - they truly prove that the power of young individuals can be limitless."
Kinga helped raise $40,000 in an ALS Society of Canada direct mail campaign that chronicled her life while she was taking care of her mom who was diagnosed with ALS. Today, Kinga has made it her life's purpose to continue fighting in her mother's honour, raising awareness and funds to support those living with ALS.
"One of the most inspirational moments of my life was having ALS patients tell me how much my fundraising work has given them hope to keep fighting," said Kinga. "Even if it didn't save them in time, I gave them the strength to keep fighting another day."
Second place winner, Xiren Wang has contributed to numerous projects involving music therapy with orphans and special needs children in disadvantaged regions worldwide. Her volunteer work has been her passport to such places as Tibet, the Balkans, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and now Haiti. Xiren is donating a solo concert and organizing a benefit event for project Kay Nou of Hearts Together for Haiti, to help give children who would otherwise become restavecs (child slaves), other life options.
"I am inspired by the people I work with - not only my peers, but especially the disadvantaged children whom we reach out to," said Xiren. "The challenges they face make the 'average problem' in privileged societies seem miniscule - their resilience motivates me, their happiness, hope, and dreams inspire me."
The competition's third place winners, teenage duo, Chelsea Carroll and Vivienne Moscoco founded the annual "Throwdown for Cancer" (T4C), a non-profit event that brings local bands together to raise both money and awareness. Last year alone they raised almost $4,500 at the event and are showing teens, as Vivienne says, "Just because we're young, it doesn't mean helping out is impossible - if you have a dream or a goal, never let it slip away."
Chelsea's words of inspiration to young Canadians: "Take that first step - it is you who is going to make a difference in our world by taking chances, not by waiting on something to fix itself."
Pay the Inspiration Forward
To keep spreading the inspiration from the competition's nominees, a final MIKE AND IKE(R) ANTE UP!(TM) report will be posted on www.mikeandike.ca on June 7th, and will be available for the public to download. This report will promote the various causes and nominees' stories, so fellow young Canadians can feel inspired and look at how they can also change their communities and the world around them.
The MIKE AND IKE(R) ANTE UP!(TM) competition's top 10 nominees were featured on www.mikeandike.ca, where the public was asked to vote from April 26 to May 25, 2010, for the young leader they felt was most inspiring. From all the nominations that were received, a panel of esteemed judges reviewed the top 30, and created a short-list of the final 10 - based on their significant contribution towards change be it social, educational, cultural, environmental or economical change.
The judges included: long-time radio DJs, Chris Evans from Z103.5 FM and J Wyze from Flow 93.5 FM; Toni-Marie Ippolito, editor of Tribute and Teen Tribute Magazines; Lorraine Zander, founder and editor-in-chief of Faze Magazine, Canada's number 1 student magazine, Wayne Lutomski, Vice President, International Development for Just Born, Inc., the maker of MIKE AND IKE(R); and Craig Matthews, Sales Vice President, from Morris National, the Canadian distributor partner for Just Born Inc.
For additional details on the ANTE UP!(TM) competition please visit: www.mikeandike.ca. MIKE AND IKE(R) and ANTE UP!(TM) are trademarks of Just Born, Inc.
About MIKE AND IKE(R)
Just Born first introduced the MIKE AND IKE(R) Brand in 1940. Today, in addition to its Original Fruit flavour, the MIKE AND IKE(R) Brand offers multiple varieties in Canada including: TANGY TWISTER(R), BERRY BLAST(TM), TROPICAL TYPHOON(TM) and ZOURS(R). MIKE AND IKE(R) Brand Candies are kosher, gluten-free, and are available in a variety of retail and convenience stores across Canada. For more information, please visit: www.mikeandike.ca.
About Just Born, Inc.
Just Born, Inc. is a privately owned company founded in 1923 and headquartered in Bethlehem, PA, where it manufactures PEEPS(R), HOT TAMALES(R) and MIKE AND IKE(R) Brand Candies. PEANUT CHEWS(R) Brand Candies are produced in Philadelphia, PA. All Just Born candies are made in the U.S.A.For further information: Media requiring further information please contact: Rima Maamari, Precision Marketing Group Inc., (416) 566-0797, firstname.lastname@example.org