Over the past 25 years, millions of children in local schools and youth groups from nearly 100 countries have been participating in the Lions Clubs International's annual Peace Poster contest. Youngsters ages 11, 12 and 13 express their visions of peace through art in the contest.
California has 15 Lions districts who hold their own contests, and the winners advance through several judging levels — local, district, multiple district and international.
Judging for the California statewide competition, held in Santa Barbara, was Margie Yahyavi, executive director of Santa Barbara Education Foundation, and Louise Komp, board member of the Santa Barbara Art Association.
“The technical skill was amazing!” Yahyavi said. “And the level of artistic expression was very impressive. It’s astonishing that these artists are 11, 12 and 13 years old!”
Each poster is judged on originality, artistic merit and expression on the theme of the year. This year’s theme was "Our World, Our Future."
The winner of the California statewide competition was Megan Hall, 13, from the Tustin Host Lions Club. La Colina Junior High School student Kieran Meaney, 13, from the Goleta Lions Club and Joshua Ko, 11, from the San Francisco Korean American Lions Club received Honorable Mention awards.
Lions Clubs International was founded in 1917 and is best known for fighting blindness but also performs various volunteer works for many different kinds of community projects. It is the world’s largest service club organization and has 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs worldwide. The community projects support local children and schools through scholarships, recreation and mentoring.
The Santa Barbara Education Foundation was founded in 1985 and is the only funding organization that has the unique and specific mission of supporting all 15,000 students throughout the 22 schools in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
Currently, SBEF’s focus is funding initiatives that level the playing field for all children, including English learning programs, music and art education for every elementary student, summer school for high school students who want to get ahead, providing resources for at-risk students, and training parents to be involved in their children’s education.
— Natasha Wdowski represents the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.