Young Canadians "Ante Up" Awe-Inspiring Stories of Giving

Public Voting For the MIKE AND IKE(R) ANTE UP!(TM) Competition Begins Today to Determine Canada's Most Inspiring Young Leader

TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - The power of young individuals resonates loud and clear among the top 10 nominations released today from the MIKE AND IKE(R) ANTE UP!(TM) competition, a program designed to recognize Canada's most inspiring young leaders while spreading that inspiration to others. The competition's final winner will receive a donation from MIKE AND IKE(R) of up to $2,500 in support of their favourite registered charity.

"From founding charities on their own, to raising hundreds and thousands of dollars for their causes, to creating programs that are being replicated on a global scale, we have come across some extraordinary young individuals," said Donald Houston, Senior Brand Manager for the MIKE AND IKE(R) Brand. "We were inspired by the caliber of the nominations we received - these young people remind us all of what we are capable of accomplishing."

The top 10 nominations are now available at www.mikeandike.ca and feature details of young Canadians between the ages of 12 and 25 driving incredible social, educational, cultural and economical changes both on a local and global scale.

"We wanted to provide these amazing young individuals a platform to raise awareness about their causes," explains Houston. As such, the public is being encouraged to check out their stories online, spread the word about their work, and ultimately vote for the young Canadian whom they feel is most deserving of the title: Canada's Most Inspiring Young Leader.

A MIKE AND IKE(R) ANTE UP!(TM) panel of judges narrowed all of the nominations received down to the final top 10. 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.

"So many of these nominees chose to lead their life with purpose, and feel it is their inherent duty to give back; it just comes naturally to them," said judge Toni-Marie Ippolito of Tribute and Teen Tribute Magazine. "We came across many nominators who said they were driven to do more, be more and to give more as a result of these passionate youngsters. Ultimately that's the magic of giving back, it's simply contagious."

MIKE AND IKE(R) ANTE UP!(TM) Competition - Top 10 Nominations

Alyssa Gibbons (Age 20): Alyssa truly inspires her peers to see that helping others is the right thing to do. Among her charity work, Alyssa supports Transforming Faces Worldwide, an organization that supports cleft lip and palate management (every 11 minutes, a child is born in this world with a cleft lip). Alyssa helps execute a number of events to raise money for this cause and her passion and devotion consistently shine through.

Chelsea Carroll & Vivienne Moscoco (Age 16 & 17): Chelsea and Vivienne founded the annual "Throwdown for Cancer" (T4C), a non-profit event that brings local bands together to raise both money and awareness. Their goal: "to kick cancer in the a--, one breakdown at a time." Last year alone they raised almost $4,500 at the event - just one of their initiatives, and they're showing teens that it's not impossible to help others just because they are younger.

Connor Cimowsky (Age 16): At age 15, Connor travelled to Africa with three students, bringing laptops, portable wireless internet and solar power to a rural Kenyan school, where students had never heard of the internet, let alone touched a computer. Connor's efforts truly transformed the lives of Ntugi students and community. He has also inspired people from around the globe to follow his lead. This "Ntugi experiment" is now a flourishing educational program with 30 laptops, and a wireless school with a new computer lab under construction.

Erick Bauer & Steve Cameron (Age: 25 & 25): Erick Bauer who battles Cystic Fibrosis, and Steve Cameron, a cancer survivor have, in four years raised over $130,000 for their charitable initiative, The Friends for Life Foundation which supports the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Oncology Unit at Toronto's Sick Children's Hospital. Through social media and trendy events often featuring over 1,000 guests, the foundation now has a cult-like following. To think, it all started as a way for friends and family to show support for those living with Cystic Fibrosis and cancer!

Kinga Njilas (Age 25): When Kinga's mom was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease, Kinga decided to fight it by raising funds and awareness. She joined numerous ALS fundraisers, told her story in an ALS Canada direct mail campaign that raised $40,000, and created her own charity soccer tournament in honour of her mom (whom she lost this year). Kinga believes she is only limited by her imagination - "if I can dream it, I can do it!" she says, vowing to fight ALS for all those who can't.

Madison Diamond (Age 23): Madison's brainchild, an annual event called Bowl Your Heart Out to support Save a Child's Heart Foundation Canada, raised over $30,000 in its first year, saving two children and funding training for medial staff. Moreover, her initiative to create a young leadership board for this foundation also inspired many other chapters around the world to start similar leadership groups. Madison's impact on Save a Child's Heart has been huge. She is an incredible young role model.

Sam Nielsen (Age 14): At age 11, Sam was recycling bottles, organizing yard sales and participating in essay contests, to raise funds to "adopt" less fortunate families at Christmas. In the past two years Sam has received many accolades for her selfless work, and has organized 11 fundraising drives for her local Youth Centre and the local food bank (Feed NS). She's on numerous school committees, volunteers at church, and also coaches and plays sports. She is definitively the first student people come to when they need help.

Saneliso Moyo (Age 20): Saneliso was only 18 when she founded the Zanele Poverty Relief Effort (ZPRE) after hearing stories of children orphaned by HIV/AIDs in Zimbabwe. Today, ZPRE provides a steady source of financial and food support for these children. Seeing her work, her peers wonder what they can accomplish if they put their minds to it. Everyday Saneliso lives out the philosophy that it's our duty to give to those who have less than us.

Stephanie Erdle (Age 20): While volunteering for a Free the Children school-building project in Ecuador, Stephanie realized "as a student and young woman, I had the power to make a difference." Stephanie has since organized many fundraisers like the "Squeaky Feet Campaign", that raised money to provide rain boots for flood-ravaged children. Her school's annual dance-a-thon now brings her entire community together for various causes. Her motto: "with passion and drive, the sky is the limit!"

Xiren Wang (Age 21): Xiren has contributed to numerous projects involving music therapy with orphans and special needs children in disadvantaged regions worldwide. Striving to lead a life with purpose, 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.

For additional details on the ANTE UP!(TM) competition or to cast a vote for your favourite, most inspiring young Canadian, please visit: www.mikeandike.ca. The online public voting period will run from April 26th to May 25th. 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.

SOURCE MIKE AND IKE

For further information: For further information: Media requiring further information please contact: Rima Maamari, Precision Marketing Group Inc., (416) 566-0797, rima@precisionmarketinggroup.ca

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