Lions in Action: Crafting Peace
Some children learn about war and strife first hand in their homeland. Many others view the unsettling images on television. Yet all of these resilient young people can imagine a more peaceful time when their neighbors and other nations can live in harmony.
The Lions Step In
The Peace Poster Contest began simply enough: What would happen if children throughout the world used the universal language of art to express what peace means to them? From this question sprang an annual tradition in which children put pen, crayon, charcoal or paintbrush to paper and unleash their powerful talents. Each year, Lions clubs around the world invite children ages 11, 12 and 13 to artistically express what peace means to them through the Peace Poster Contest.
“Our main goal as Lions is to get the kids involved in the community through the Peace Poster Contest,” said Kerry Fletcher of the Zionsville Lions Club in Indiana. “Their voices are important.”
Children compete locally against their peers by creating a work around a theme such as “Vision of Peace” or “Peace Begins with Me.” Clubs and multiple districts pick regional winners, which are sent to Lions Clubs International and shown to a jury of distinguished artists. From these posters, 23 merit award winners and one grand prize award winner is chosen.
“The work is really high quality. It’s amazing that the children are so young and their original approaches to the idea about power and peace,” said contest judge Tricia Van Eck of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.
Hard Work Pays Off
The Peace Poster Contest brings Lions closer to their community and provides a platform for reaching out to youth and letting them know what Lions do in their community. “Our club believes that we need to have peace all around us. And by taking it through to the schools — we can encourage them,” said Leona McPherson of the Newlands Lions Club in the Republic of South Africa.
Furthermore, the contest encourages children to imagine a future full of hope and devoid of violence. “I’d like to see a better world where my parents, my friends, my family can live in peace,” said 12-year-old Nataly Aquite of Colombia.
The contest has been running for over 25 years. Clubs representing more than 65 countries participate each year. Past grand prize winners have hailed from Brazil, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Martinique, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and the United States. Each poster is judged on originality, artistic merit and expression of the theme.
Make It Happen: Host a local Peace Poster Contest in your community
- What are the advantages of participating? »
Hosting the Peace Poster Contest in your community can bring your club together for a project that has great benefits for young people. You can be one of the thousands of clubs worldwide that unite for this single event. Furthermore, it’s a great way to reach the parents of young children who may be potential new Lions.
- How do I get started? »
You can order a Peace Poster Contest Kit (PPK-1) from the Club Supplies Sales Department at International Headquarters. The kit is available in all 11 official languages. Lions clubs must purchase a kit for each contest sponsored.
- How can we promote it the contest? »
Lions Clubs International has compiled a variety of tools to help you get started. You can download the brochure, create a press release, order a DVD and print out honorable mention certificates
- How can we honor our local winners? »
Each club and multiple district can choose how to recognize the winners of their local contest. Some clubs recognize the teen in public using the media. You can create a certificate recognizing the accomplishment and offer a small token gift commemorating the event. The important part is simply recognizing your local winner and letting them know how important their contribution to the contest is to your club.
- Any special words of advice? »
Don’t miss the opportunity to add new Lions to your club through this contest. Send home information with the student participants about your club and how to become a Lion.