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Even though the pandemic has changed the way we live, it hasn’t changed our ability to be creative. And that’s what ChildFund International and bestselling children’s horror author R. L. Stine are counting on.
Richmond-based ChildFund International, a nonprofit organization working to help children around the world grow up healthy, and Stine are teaming up to host a Halloween-themed creative writing competition for kids.
Children can share original stories, fictionm, or nonfiction, about the scariest monster they can imagine and how to overcome it for the #MyScariestMonster Contest.
“One of the things we do to help kids through scary times is help them express their ideas through art and this contest is building on that,” says ChildFund’s president and CEO Anne Goddard.
When the organization was starting to plan for the contest, Goddard reached out to Stine after learning he sponsors a child through ChildFund. “I was thrilled when he said yes because my kids loved his Goosebumps books.
Stine understands kids “aren’t immune to the stress, anxiety and fear,” he says. “But I know that children are some of the most resilient people on the planet.”
It helps to have “supportive adults around who can reassure kids and give them creative opportunities to express their fears,” he adds. “That’s what people have always been really good at, after all – using our imaginations to make meaning out of tough times. And it’s why children need Halloween more than ever this year, trick-or-treating or no.”
Parents today are playing a bigger role in their child’s education and often are looking for ways to get their kids involved in creative ventures and at the same time learn about the world around them.
“It would be great if parents and teachers took the opportunity to teach kids about global poverty,” Goddard says.
The children ChildFund helps around the world grew up in poverty, experiencing many scary moments in their lives. “We want to help put things in perspective about what’s happening in the world,” Goddard says. “Sponsoring a child through ChildFund gives great perspective.”
The organization also works in the U.S. It has some programs on the Texas-Mexican border. “They have been going through a lot of trauma,” she says.
ChildFund’s programs are designed specifically to help children in the U.S. and around the world process trauma through reading, writing, drawing and other imaginative activities.
Sharing these stories with other children helps build confidence that they can bounce back from things that happen, Goddard says.
Start Writing Your Story
The #MyScariestMonster Contest is open to kids ages six to eighteen everywhere, including those enrolled in ChildFund’s programs. Submissions will be judged by a panel include Stine, Goddardm and ChildFund sponsor Mick Foley of professional wrestling fame, a bestselling children’s author himself.
Submissions are due on October 14. Winning stories will be announced on Halloween and displayed on ChildFund’s website, giving kids the opportunity to become punished writers. Winners will also receive an autographed book from Stine.
“This is a scary time for everyone. Creative expression can help them cope,” Goddard says. “I hope that kids go online and read all stories posted and see that they are not alone.”
For more information about the contest and how to enter, visit ChildFund.org/my-scariest-monster or follow the organization on social media.