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DHS News September 2012

ERO Encourages Young Artists

As a way to promote artistic exploration, the East Regional Office (ERO) recently held its second art contest for children involved with the Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYF).

For two weeks in early July, contest entries were displayed in the ERO office to allow staff members an opportunity to vote for their favorite artist. Prizes were awarded to the top three scorers: The first place winner received a $25 Visa gift card and a framed award, the second place winner received a football and framed award, and the third place winner received a friendship bracelet kit and a certificate.

While a majority of entries were submitted through caseworkers, the first place winner was encouraged to enter by his mother.

Pencil drawing“[She] was visiting him at the ERO and saw a flier for the contest. She actually tracked down my phone number to get more information and to tell me about his talent,” said ERO Director Tammi Hilko, Ph.D. “The best part of the contest was watching the look on his face as I told him that his artwork had won first place. That's the power of the expressive arts.”

In addition to the contest, the ERO also nurtured the artistic talents of a child with assistance from the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund (ACMFF). This particular youth enjoys tracing sports figures and then coloring them, but he uses ordinary paper and pencil which can make tracing difficult. The ERO placed a request to the ACMFF to purchase a lighted workspace and lap table that will make tracing easier.  

Tammi concludes, “Art soothes the soul while teaching discipline and encouraging creativity. I was particularly struck by the insight into this by a young artist who said he wanted to pursue a career in sports medicine and keep his art as a fallback. His talent will always be there to inspire and to help him focus on his dreams and goals.”  

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