Pictured is artwork from sixth-grade youth-winner Aza Williams Carpenter of Bluffview Montessori School.

Contest focuses on preventing child abuse


National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and promotes the social and emotional well being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness and provide education and support to families through resources and strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect.

The “Hands are For…” event is a youth art contest for all children from grades three to 12 in Winona County, which took place on April 4. Artists are encouraged to design an art project that promotes how to use your hands for good, i.e. positive interactions such as helping others, being creative, and caring for others. The event is organized by the Winona County Primary Prevention Project and the Family and Children’s Center.

This year’s Hands are For… was a great celebration with over 45 children, parents and community members in attendance.

Winona Mayor Mark Peterson opened with a Winona Proclamation to End Child Abuse and Dr. Ruth Charles and Dr. Anne Vande Berg were honored as community champions for their work on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This work includes creating a network of local speakers, trainers and coaches committed to bringing awareness about ACEs and the impact they have on the lives of children and the adults they become.

Jack Richter, CEO of WNB Financial, welcomed guests and families. Each of the nine youth artist winners were presented with a gift card. The winning art work and all the 160 art entries from Winona County children are on display at the WNB Financial Bank on Main Street throughout the month of April.

Contest winners

Grades three to five
Most creative: Elsa Heinrichs, Jefferson Elementary School
Most colorful: Evie O’shea, Jefferson Elementary School
Most unique: Olivia Schossow, Bluffview Montessori School

Grades six to eight
Most creative: Aza Williams Carpenter, Bluffview Montessori School
Most colorful: Jazlyn Jaen, Bluffview Montessori School
Most unique: Freyja Wolfe, Bluffview Montessori School

Grades nine to 12
Most creative: Isa Solano-Castro, Winona Senior High School
Most colorful: Linette Sheehan, Winona Senior High School
Most unique: Cheyanne Markwardt, Winona Senior High School


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