Each year, UCT sponsors a safety poster contest for students in public, private and parochial schools and for students with intellectual disabilities. Schools across North America are eligible to participate, once contacted by a UCT local council. Judging is conducted in three levels for each division. Posters are judged according to originality, artistic ability and clarity of content and winners are awarded cash prizes.
The contest is designed to give students in local communities an opportunity to address safety issues that personally affect them and to do so creatively. It’s sometimes easy to forget just what the contest means to the young people participating in it – and especially to those winning at the higher levels. However, we were reminded of this recently when we received a thank you email from the mother of one of the public, private and parochial school winners from Cincinnati, Ohio, explaining how winning at the international level affected her daughter. As you’ll see, councils sponsoring safety poster contests in their local schools are having a far greater impact than they might think possible.
“The reason I am sending you this communication is I wanted to thank you for the opportunity made available to our daughter Lisa through your organization’s safety poster contest. Until receiving the packet with her winning poster, ribbon and check, we were not aware of Lisa’s entry, and we did not know of the project made available by UCT to so many schools.
Lisa entered the contest with anti-bullying as her theme. I want you to know that Lisa has suffered bullying firsthand – both at public and, more recently, parochial schools. In fact, she was to finish her final year this coming school year at the local faith-based school she was attending when she entered your contest. Sadly, however, due to insufferable circumstances for Lisa at that very school, she has elected a return to the local public school she left in fifth grade for the same cause – bullying.
Lisa has moderate functional dyslexia and in fifth grade was also diagnosed having ADHD, which is well managed with minimal Rx medicine and special learning interventions/teaching plans. Between Lisa’s academic struggles, victimization secondary to getting bullied, and dealing with such at a vulnerable age for any girl, she has become reclusive, withdrawn, and sad. This past year, we sought individualized counseling for her, which helped her very much.
Lisa is extremely creative and has a beautiful imagination. Her heart is generous and passionate. You might imagine how difficult it has been, as her mother, to see her disconnected and demonstrating very low self-esteem.
However, she has been smiling since being notified of her win, making eye contact and interacting with others again. The latter had been with only those closest to her. Now, she talks with cashiers, servers at restaurants, and others. You should know that your contest presents much more than an opportunity for children to win money. Lisa has gained so much more – as have we, her family – by being given the chance to turn a negative life experience into something so positive. Thank you most sincerely for this opportunity made available to her.”
If you’re a member why not get your local schools involved in the UCT safety poster contest and help impact the lives of students? Safety poster rules will be sent to local council secretaries around mid-September and are already available on the Members’ Area of our website at www.uct.org. If you’re a teacher, why not find out more about the safety poster contest and how your school can get involved? Either way, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 800.848.0123 x1130, and I’ll be happy to help you out.