Announcing the Winners of SFY’s First Annual Youth Voices Contest

Strategies for Youth is pleased to announce the names of the five young people who won prizes in its first annual Youth Voices Contest. In the fall of 2018, SFY invited youth to write an essay or poem or submit a piece of art answering the question: How would you improve police/youth interactions?

12-14 Age Group

»»» Click on the thumbnail images to read written works and see the full piece of art. «««


Alexie Boursiquot
Age 13
Ellicot City, MD

Drawing Co-winner

Evelina Cheng
Age 12
Sacramento, CA

Drawing Co-winner

Kaleb Chew
Age 14
Baton Rouge, LA

Category 2: 15-18 year olds

»»» Click on the thumbnail images to read written works and see the full piece of art. «««


Keyma Flight
Age 17
Baltimore, MD


Azaria Porter
Age 16
Buffalo, NY

About the Contest

Last fall, we invited youth to submit writing or artwork to tell us how they would improve interactions between police and youth. We believe the voices of youth need to be heard and understood to help us find ways to improve police/youth interactions. There is no substitute for hearing from people with lived experience. 

SFY’s Youth Voices Contest was organized by SFY Training Coordinator Colleen Walker and SFY Program Coordinator Kolbe Phelps. We received over 130 submissions from youth in California, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Texas, and Washington. All contestants were divided into two age groups, 12-14 year olds and 15-18 year olds. Identifying information (name, gender, school, hometown) was removed from youths’ submissions.

Colleen and Kolbe convened a very dedicated group of 30 judges including police chiefs and law enforcement commanders, judges, defenders, prosecutors, law professors, youth advocates, probation officers, and leaders in juvenile justice reform. And we are especially grateful for the 11 donors who contributed to the cash prizes for the winning contestants.

We ask you to share these young people’s writings and arts with friends, colleagues, young people and elected leaders. We are gearing up for SFY’s Second Annual Youth Voices Contest, and are already planning to include a category for short films. Your support will help us encourage more young people to be heard!

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