Coloring in friendship

Children from left: Clara Pattison, Tinllie Hale, Tinley Humphreys, Lila Pattison, Autumn Cowdry, Kaylee Cowdry, Hailey Hollis (front), Weston Palmer, Josie Scoggins, Emmett Young and Loriana Yanez-Welch won prizes in the coloring contest which Randi Ross (back, middle) organized.

Though Child Abuse Prevention Month passed in April, nonprofit 90by30 is keeping its mission alive in unique fashion.

On Friday (May 13), local children were awarded prizes in a coloring contest designed to invoke and instill the spirit of friendship. 90by30’s South Lane Regional Leadership Team Coordinator Randi Ross came up with the concept.

“This is the very first coloring contest that 90by30 has ever done, so it was really exciting to be the first region to do one,” she said.

Twelve winners were chosen among more than 100 entrants.

90by30 is a nonprofit dedicated to reducing child abuse 90 percent by 2030.

During Child Abuse Prevention Month this April, Ross decided she wanted to “lift youth voices up” with a coloring contest.

Tapping into local elementary schools, the contest sought to promote child abuse awareness among the children themselves by getting them to think about the issue’s protective factor, asking: “What does it look like to be a good friend?”

On that theme, more than 100 finished works of art came back.

“It was really hard for me to choose 12,” Ross said.

Gift cards to Tallulah and Co. (a children’s boutique), Crafty Mercantile, Walmart and McDonald’s as well as toys and free Health Hub classes made up some $200 in prizes, all made possible by local donations.

“The community really stepped up,” said Ross appreciatively.

Contributions came in from local businesses as well as the Cottage Grove Police Department and Chamber of Commerce.

With prizes doled out, Ross is aiming to keep the momentum going by blowing up, laminating and framing the winning pieces of art to be displayed at different spots around town. Downtown’s June ArtWalk will feature the pieces as well.

“And then hopefully our goal long term is to have a big mural painted with all the art from all the kids,” she said.

For Ross, the project of incorporating youth into the child abuse prevention effort in fun ways is important in establishing the concept early for next generation.

“I think the more awareness we bring to everybody of all age groups, the better we do with protective factors. I think we just need to normalize that — normalize the talking of it and being aware of it,” she said.

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