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Startup Toy Company Zylie the Bear Hosts Inaugural Community Service Awards Program

Monejah Bowers of Newark, New Jersey is fundraising to create a community garden.

“We’re excited to spotlight the kids who are passionate about helping others and who are making a real impact on the world," said Matt McCarty, co-founder of Zylie the Bear.

Ten-year-old Ryan Basso is legally blind, but that doesn’t stop him from helping others with retinal disease. Mohamed, Robert, and Robin, a team of 12-year-olds, are working tirelessly to de-stigmatize disability and increase understanding of autism at their school. These amazing finalists, and three others, will now compete to win the Zylie’s Awesome Kids (ZAK) 2011 Community Service Award and a $1,000 educational scholarship.

Zylie the Bear, a Connecticut startup toy company, is honoring five finalists (three individuals and two teams) from the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area for their outstanding community service. The finalists are featured on the Zylie the Bear website where the public is invited to vote on their favorite project and the winner of the $1,000 scholarship. Votes can be cast on The Adventures of Zylie the Bear website at http://www.zyliethebear.com/zak through November 25, 2011.

The ZAK Award finalists are:

Ryan Basso, Age 10, Port Chester NY; Monejah Bowers, Age 13, Newark, NJ; Jose Bustamante, Age 13, Bronx, NY; Team Autism Speaks: Mohamed Elsaid, Age 12, Mount Kisco, NY; Robert Belcher, Age 12, Bedford Hills, NY; and Robin Day, Age 12, Bedford Hills, NY; Team Four Girls for Families (all from Bellport, NY): Rae Specht, Age 12; Emmy Specht, Age 12; Maddie Joinnides, Age 11; Clara Walker, Age 9.

“Zylie the Bear is thrilled to honor these amazing kids through the ZAK Award. It just makes you feel great to know there are kids like this out there,” said Matt McCarty, co-founder of Zylie the Bear. “We’re excited to spotlight the kids who are passionate about helping others and who are making a real impact on the world.”

Monejah Bowers, a finalist who has created a student Green Team to fundraise for a community garden in Newark, New Jersey, says of her project, “Going green is beyond a wonderful thing. To keep a healthy body and heart, this will be an excellent way to start. So, if we all together gave a little each day, this Newark community will live in a healthier way.”

Zylie the Bear is a Connecticut-based toy company founded in 2009 by “mom-preneur,” Mary Beth Minton, who set out to create a different kind of toy company. From the concept of a soft teddy bear that can be played with like a doll to the educational storybooks that come with Zylie, the company encourages “battery-free” play, learning, and creativity.

Ms. Minton also created a company with heart. Although Zylie the Bear is still a startup, the company has supported the China Care Foundation, a nonprofit that provides medical care to orphans in China; held a national clothing design contest for Zylie to encourage children’s creativity; launched the Zylie’s Awesome Kids Community Service Award contest; and started a literacy program to recognize children who are going the extra mile to learn and overcome.

“The decisions I’ve made for Zylie the Bear are based on my experiences as a mother and community member. I’ve created the products I always wanted my kids to have, and I’ve created a brand that I would want in my community,” said Minton. “The Awesome Kids Award is a perfect way to recognize exceptional young people in our area and to raise awareness for the causes they believe in. These kids are an inspiration to all of us.”

Zylie the Bear and other products in the line can be found at many local toy stores in the tri-state area. Visit http://www.zyliethebear.com and click on “Retailers” for more information.

About Zylie the Bear:
The Adventures of Zylie the Bear was conceived by Mary Beth Minton when she
realized one of her daughters was dressing her teddy bear in doll clothes. Wishing there was a more doll-shaped bear available, Zylie was born. She developed the line with her son Matt McCarty, and the two now run the company together at their headquarters in Greenwich, CT. The duo launched the line last year and have already won nearly every major toy industry award, including the prestigious Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award for Best Toy. For more information about Zylie the Bear please visit the website at http://www.zyliethebear.com or http://facebook.com/zyliethebear.

Zylie the Bear and other products in the line can be found at many local toy stores in the tri-state area. Visit the website and click on “Retailers” for more information.

Press Inquiries
For more information about Zylie the Bear or the ZAK Award, please contact:

Matt McCarty
Co-founder
Zylie the Bear
203.531.7866
matt(at)zyliethebear(dot)com

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