Healing through Creativity

By guest writer Kerri Schlottman, Director of External Relations, Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

Every year the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is fortunate to witness the incredible talent of creative teens from across the country who submit their work to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The words we read and the artwork we view tell a multitude of stories about the experiences of teenagers from all walks of life. On September 15 we will once again open registration for students in grades 7 through 12 to submit their work in 30 categories of art and writing. We know that we’ll see a breadth of imagination and a depth of emotion. And now, thanks to a sponsorship by the New York Life Foundation, we will also be able to encourage students who are dealing with issues of loss and bereavement by offering six very special scholarships to select award winners.

The issue of loss is a common theme in the Scholastic Awards as teens use their creativity to deal with the bereavement process. 2009 Scholastic Award winner Chelsey Shannon used her creative writing skills to help deal with the untimely death of her father, comedian Blair Shannon. Chelsey, who also lost her mother at age 6, says of her father’s death, “Right after I learned he died, all I could do was write letters to him, just so I’d have some sort of connection.” Chelsey was one of more than a thousand teens honored at Carnegie Hall by the Alliance. She has since published a book and continues to receive accolades for her writing.

There are many others like Chelsey out there, and we are grateful to the New York Life Foundation for providing us the opportunity to encourage them to use their artistic and literary talents to help them heal. Please spread the word by encouraging every teen you know in grades 7 through 12 to submit works of art and writing that deal with loss and bereavement to the 2011 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Six students will be selected to earn $1,000 scholarships. For more information, visit www.artandwriting.org.

For specific information on the New York Life Award:



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