2021 NJ teen artwork contest focuses on help of family members

Teenagers across New Jersey can submit entries for the 26th annual New Jersey Teen Media Contest sponsored by the Family Development Department of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. Your mission is to support families, especially during these challenging times.

The 2021 competition is open to all middle and senior school-age students. Hand-painted, hand-drawn and written entries will be accepted as in previous years.

Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said the competition helped the department highlight the importance of its New Jersey family assistance program to New Jersey families.

Neira said the competition is focused on celebrating family and the importance of parents and loved ones and their deep involvement in a child’s life.

This year’s theme focuses on 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted to find out how teens can demonstrate how they and their loved ones have supported each other through all the changes from distance learning to finding new ways to connect with friends and families,” Neira said.

Teens can use their creative and artistic side to demonstrate not only how challenging this year has been, but how much they have relied on the support of their family and friends.

Neira said there is a lot of research going into storytelling to get people to think about such a challenging year and either put it into words or paint or draw something.

In 2020, there was simply no moment to think about, Neira said. It all happened so quickly that students had to switch to distance learning, pausing all their sports and activities, unable to hang out with friends, or enjoy the many events the high school has to offer. Neira hopes this competition will be an opportunity for youngsters to find a positive side of 2020.

All entries must be postmarked by March 31st. The winners will be selected for each of the two categories of entries in first, second and third places in both middle and high school groups. Usually, winning students are recognized at an awards ceremony in May. However, a final decision on this year’s awards ceremony will be made at a later date, depending on the status of the state public health emergency.

All information, official rules, registration forms and frequently asked questions can be found at www.NJTeenMedia.org.

For more information about child care services in New Jersey, visit www.njchildsupport.org or call 1-877-NJKIDS1.

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