BRISTOL - Incoming junior at Bristol Eastern High School, Miya Spinella, has won the first-ever Create for Change contest that asked youth to inspire tolerance and kindness in the community through a medium of their choice.
The contest posed the question, “How do you think we can use the concept of community to unify people and make the city that we live in an example of overall acceptance regardless of individual beliefs?”
It was opened to all Bristol high school students and 2017 Bristol high school graduates. Submissions ranged from literature, artwork and other forms of creative expression.
“It feels great to win and it was a really good topic to think and write about,” Spinella said. “There is a lot of diversity in school and people from different backgrounds don’t always come together.
“This contest was an opportunity to think about how we are all different and how much better we can be if we think about ourselves as a part of one community and not just as individuals. It’s a topic that doesn’t often get addressed in school, so it’s good to bring attention to it so we can all strive to learn from each other and grow.
“Lacking in acceptance isolates us by our differences instead of embracing them. When society is open minded and blends the values of various ideologies together, the society flourishes.”
Spinella’s submission was a unique art piece that used monochromatic and color composition to highlight how easy it is for people who are different to feel as if they don’t belong. It included an explanation of how uniqueness and cultural differences can make the city a stronger, more vibrant and an exciting place to live.
She was awarded a $500 cash prize that she will be saving for her college education.
The contest was created and launched this summer by Journey Communications, a Bristol-based marketing consultancy for small businesses. It was created to get Bristol youth thinking about ways to inspire their community through the acceptance and celebration of diversity.
Chelsea O’Donnell, owner of Journey Communications, was the principal sponsor for the contest and explained that receiving the submissions from local students was an eye-opening experience.
“We created this contest because we wanted to give our youth the opportunity to speak their minds about what they are seeing, both locally and globally,” O’Donnell said. “Miya’s piece clearly identified ways that we as role models can make changes in the way that we think, talk and act that can positively influence the way we operate as a community moving forward.
“The topic of diversity can be a controversial one, but it’s something that dominates global headlines and reverberates right down to the school cafeteria. Miya’s art is an example of the unification that we can achieve if we just take a little bit more time to practice compassion and acceptance in this wonderfully diverse city that we live in.”
Create for Change will be an annual contest and held again in June 2018. O’Donnell is also working with Bristol City Hall, Bristol Eastern High School and the Boys & Girls Club of Bristol Family Center to showcase the artwork for the public to enjoy.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-973-5088.