Karleen Dude Essay Contest

Young people who have benefited from the involvement of a caring adult who acted as their advocate are invited to participate in the Karleen Dude Child Advocacy Youth Essay Contest.

Each year, beginning in 2012, United Voices for Children will present awards to two youth authors who submit winning essays that focus on the theme: “An Adult Who Is My Special Advocate.” An advocate is a person who speaks for children or youth who cannot or may not speak for themselves.

Karleen Dude serves as the United Voices for Children (UVC) newsletter editor, a role she accepted in the 1980's after 10 years of involvement as one of the founding UVC members and past president of the Central Illinois branch. For several decades, Karleen has dedicated her time and abilities to inform others about issues that affect children and point us to the resources we need to educate ourselves and get involved. Her passion is to link United Methodists with the many opportunities available in our local communities, state, and nation to get involved and advocate for children. Her wisdom and experience inspires us to make a difference in the life of a child. This essay contest is named in her honor to celebrate the child advocates among us and the young lives they have touched.

Contest guidelines

  • Youth may submit an entry in one of two categories: Middle School (Grades 6-8) or High School (Grades 9-12). Submission may be in either prose or poetry form, should not exceed 500 words, and may be hand-written or typed using a 12-point or larger font.
  • Include a cover sheet—separate from the essay—with the author’s name, address, telephone number, school, and grade. Do not write names on essays. The deadline to enter the contest is March 31. Please e-mail entries to Anita Ashcroft at anitasotheremail@yahoo.com.

A panel of judges will read the essays and select one Middle School winner and one High School winner. Selection will be based on alignment with the contest theme, compliance with contest guidelines, and originality.

Contest winners will be notified by phone by May 1. Each winning essayist will receive a $100 cash prize and will be invited to read their essays at the United Voices for Children breakfast during the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.