When I submitted my piece for the 2012 Aspire Awards, it was one of more than 800 submissions produced by students from all over the globe who each hoped, like I did, to be recognized for their talent. So when the moment came that I discovered I had won first place in graphic design by way of audience votes, I was stunned. After the shock wore off, I became deeply moved to know that my project had raised awareness about teen suicide, a serious problem that is often ignored in today’s youth.
My piece, “Alone,” represented my desire to draw attention to teen suicide prevention and engage parents, teachers, family members and friends in the effort to help address depression in youth. Teens struggling with depression often feel they have no one to turn to. By including a hotline phone number in my artwork, I hoped to give my peers an opportunity to access needed help. Although this topic had been important to me for quite some time, I was unsure how to share this message with others, prior to my involvement with Adobe Youth Voices (AYV). The AYV Aspire Awards enabled me use my voice to call attention to the problem and get support for those I cared about who were struggling with this issue. Using the skills I learned through AYV, I was able to produce artwork that would speak to others and encourage many of my peers who needed help to seek it.
The Audience Choice Award was selected via online voting by the general public. Voters, who included friends, teachers, family members and other supporters helped spread the word on Twitter and Facebook, showing their determination to share my message. Over the course of the voting period, my project was viewed more than 30,000 times! The breadth of supporters who commented on my project encouraged me to consider a career in graphic design so that I can continue to share my ideas with the world around me. My supporters gave me confidence in my own ability to create something that can help to improve the world around me and inform people who are suffering, that there is hope. Without this support, my piece would not have had a chance to be viewed and shared by so many people.
AYV has opened my eyes to my own creative abilities. Yes, I can sit in front of a computer screen and draw away, creating doodles and wasting my time but after taking part in the Aspire Awards competition, I realized my art can help me express myself and in doing so, bring attention to important issues. Taking digital graphic design coursework has given me direction and an idea of what I want to do with my life. Not only will you see my name listed for participating in this competition, you can count on seeing my name again in the future for more pieces like this and others.
I encourage you to vote for your favorite entry as a means to inform participants that their work is indeed important and worth sharing with others. The more that people become aware, the more people will understand and realize that they are the key to creating solutions to the issues facing our communities and the world at large. If it were up to me, I’d want to see fewer and fewer issues covered each year by Aspire Awards projects, so that I know that problems being publicized in this competition are being improved, all because someone took the time to show them to the world. You can bet that I will be voting for my favorite entries for years to come!