The six children winning the awards are from the following Cities in Washington State: Yakima, Olympia, Vancouver, Forks, Snohomish, and Granger.
Families from across Washington will gather virtually on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at 10 a.m. in collaboration with First Lady Trudi Inslee, and several other state leaders, to honor six children who submitted winning essays for the 16th annual Voices of Children contest.
Each of these children, ages 5 – 19 years old, created inspirational pieces of written or visual art related to their experiences being raised by a relative caregiver. Each child submitting a winning entry will be awarded with a signed certificate, a $100 check donated by Twin Star Credit Union, and an overnight stay at the Great Wolf Lodge for their family.
Most children find safety and comfort in the arms and care of their family, including grandparents and other relatives. For more than 2 million children in the USA, living with a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other family member has become a permanent arrangement. When parents are unable or unwilling to care for their children, placing them with a relative caregiver can have some advantages. Kinship care reduces the trauma children experience when placed with strangers. It enhances children’s sense of identity and self-esteem, continues connections with siblings and extended relatives, and strengthens the family’s ability to give children the support they need. However, Kinship placement often occurs as a result of trauma, and is a surprise to both the child, and the relative caregiver.
What does it mean to a child who can’t live with their parents to know he or she is safe, loved, and has a place to belong? Some answers to this question are offered in the winning entries submitted to the 16th annual Voices of Children Contest.
The contest is coordinated by Family Education and Support Services in collaboration with the WA State Kinship Coalition, Aging and Long Term Support Administration/DSHS, Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging, and Kinship Navigators and advocates across Washington State. The event is sponsored by TwinStar Credit Union in collaboration with the Great Wolf Lodge.
This year nearly 50 entries were received. Some are funny, some serious or even sad, but all are sincere and offer testimony to the value, sense of family, and love each young artist experienced in living with a relative caregiver.
The winning entries are:
Jase, age 5 – Yakima WA
Julianna, age 6 – Olympia, WA
Zaphera, age 9 – Vancouver, WA
Kylee, age 12 – Forks, WA
Chelsea, age 13 – Snohomish, WA
Micaela, age 15 – Granger, WA