OSBI seeking submissions for National Missing Children’s Day poster contest

Sierra Rains
News alert

Nealry three decades ago, former President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25 as National Missing Children’s Day.

Soon after, the nation’s children were invited to participate in the federal initiative to help reunite missing children with their families through artwork bringing awareness to those who still have not been found.

As of Jan. 1, submissions for the National Missing Children’s Day poster contest have opened up for fifth graders from all 50 states, said Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Public Information Officer Brook Arbeitman.

The 37th annual contest will showcase student art promoting the theme of “Bringing our Missing Children Home” and will feature the winning submission as the national symbol for the annual Missing Children’s Day ceremony and activities.

“I think that theme sort of says it all in that ‘bringing our missing children home’ is an initiative from the Department of Justice to bring attention and awareness to the cases of missing children and an effort to reunite them with their families,” Arbeitman said.

Each state hosts its own local poster competition and the winning poster from each state is submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for consideration as a national winner. Artwork is judged based on creativity, reflection of the contest theme and originality in design.

The national winner, along with his or her teacher, parents and state clearinghouse manager, is then invited to Washington D.C. to participate in the National Missing Children’s Day commemoration held at the end of May.

Though there have been submissions from Oklahoma in the past, Arbeitman said there were no submissions from the state last year. According to OJJDP, only 33 states participated in the contest in 2019, with the winner hailing from Kentucky.

“Nobody has submitted anything yet, but I really hope they do because I think this is an incredible opportunity,” Arbeitman said. “That’s a pretty neat trip for a fifth grader, their family and their teacher.”

As the program manager for the state of Oklahoma, Arbeitman said the OSBI has worked with the State Department of Education to ideally bring the contest to Oklahoma classrooms as an activity this year.

In addition to recognizing those who make efforts to protect children, the contest gives parents and guardians an opportunity to discuss safety with their children, she said.

“If parents and guardians can talk to their kids about safety, and about being aware of their surroundings and who they’re allowed to go home with— just overall safety, so it doesn’t have to be a scary message that we’re giving our kids, but just be aware,” Arbeitman said.

To make a submission, applicants must be in the fifth grade. Artwork should reflect the theme “Bring Our Missing Children Home,” and the phrase must appear somewhere on the poster.

Applicants can use whatever medium and illustration they wish to illustrate this theme, however, the poster must be 8 1/2 by 14 inches. Posters must be submitted with a completed application, which includes a description of the poster and a brief biography of the artist.

To obtain an application or find out more information, visit osbi.ok.gov and scroll down to “External Resources” on the bottom right.

The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Feb. 7 and a national winner will be notified by April, 2020. Submissions can be dropped off in person or mailed to the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation, Brook Arbeitman, at 6600 N. Harvey Pl. Oklahoma City, OK 73116.

“I’m excited to see what kind of entries that we get and I’m looking forward to hopefully having one of our fifth graders go out to D.C.,” Arbeitman said. “That’s our role in this partnership is to support them in their national initiative to bring awareness to missing children and give them some excellent Oklahoma artwork to consider for the winning poster.”