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Monday, September 4, 2023

Young Black Entrepreneurs, Siblings Launch New Line of Educational STEM Toys in Retail Stores

Chyna and Ava, founders of Team Genius Squad

Nationwide — 10-year-old Ava N. Simmons (aka Ava the STEM Princess®) and her sister Chynah Jeter of Durham, North Carolina, have partnered with retailers across the U.S. and Canada to launch their Team Genius Squad educational STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Toy Line. Their products include Experiment Coloring Books, DIY Slime, and Experiment Kits that make electricity from alternative sources such as food, wind, and the sun. Their first in-store launch took place at Marbles PlayStore in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and they plan to conduct more in-store launches at major retailers over the next 12 months.

“Once Marbles PlayStore partnered with Team Genius Squad, it paved the way for other retail partnerships. We greatly appreciate Marbles PlayStore for believing in our brand and the quality of our products,” said Chynah.

They created Team Genius Squad during the pandemic when Ava was diagnosed with Dyslexia, significantly impacting her reading ability. To support her learning journey, and with the help of her parents (Tia and Terrence Simmons) and grandmother (Mary Foy), Ava began to make STEM experiment videos on YouTube. Not only did her reading and math skills improve through skit writing and developing eye-catching experiments, but there was also an overwhelming response from the community.

Requests for in-person STEM experiments kept pouring in, so Team Genius Squad embarked on the adventure of transitioning their videos to reality via in-person events. They designed a STEM Mobile Lab to travel across the country and share the fun of STEM with children in underserved areas. Initially, Team Genius Squad purchased STEM experiment kits, but when they realized that the expense would limit how many children they could serve, they began developing their own kits.

“The first Team Genius Squad STEM Experiment Kit was developed at our kitchen table with a roll of wire, alligator clips, and plastic pouches,” said Chynah. “Ava developed the experiment and promotional material, and I developed the packaging and marketed the final product. It is a great synergy that works because we tailor our roles based on our inner strengths and gifts”. Since then, Team Genius Squad has fine-tuned the design and packaging of their first kit, which is now one of their best-selling STEM experiments, Lemon Electricity. The Lemon Electricity Experiment kit uses three lemons to make electricity to power a light and a clock.

Team Genius Squad now has 15 STEM toys on the market and counting.

“I am so grateful to be able to design and develop educational toys that positively impact the community,” said Ava. “My goal is to share my learning journey and, through purposeful play, encourage others never to let their challenges define their success or future. I am so thankful for everyone who supports Team Genius Squad!”

About Team Genius Squad
Team Genius Squad is a women-owned, Black-owned business that creates educational STEM books and toys to engage, encourage, and empower children ages 5-13. Team Genius Squad authors books, designs toys, and conducts peer-to-peer experiments in the community. To date, their experiment videos have been viewed globally by over 700,000, and they have conducted 3000+ STEM experiments in the community. To share the importance of STEM in early education, Team Genius Squad also partners with community organizations such as PBS North Carolina (J. A. Lowe), The Boys & Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties (R. Lindsay), Spring Valley Elementary School (G. G. Wilson), and North Carolina libraries (L. Pernell, T. Roulhac, B. Ludlum, B. Valdes). Team Genius Squad’s mission is to positively impact the world one STEM. experiment at a time! To learn more, visit https://linktr.ee/TeamGeniusSquad

To support Team Genius Squad, please visit their first launch location at Marbles PlayStore, 201 East Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC 27601, 919-834-4040, Open 7 days a week, 10am to 5pm EST (open until 7pm EST on Thursdays).

About Marbles PlayStore
Located in the heart of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, Marbles PlayStore serves a diverse population of families, school groups, and community organizations with dozens of themed exhibits, summer camps, an I.M.A.X. documentary, and feature movies and special events year-round. Their mission is to spark imagination, discovery, and learning through play. The store’s toys and games are specially picked to meet children’s developmental needs and give them the opportunity to take home the power of play. Every purchase directly supports bringing families from all backgrounds together to connect through play. Learn more at www.marbleskidsmuseum.org/marbles-corner-store

For press inquiries, contact TitaSimmons@TeamGeniusSquad.com or 802-277-0332.



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