“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” –Pablo Picasso

A child or teen’s unbridled creativity often surprises adults because youngsters remind us that it’s okay to break the rules and to be adventurous, especially with art. It’s a lesson that was on full display through more than a hundred artworks at the  Aurora Mental Health Center’s (AuMHC) Annual Student Art Contest and Show on Monday, October 29 at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center. Students K-12 from Aurora schools entered a wide variety of creative works representing drawing, painting, collage, or photography that best represented this year’s theme: “What does ‘Be Kind’ Mean to You?” Awards were announced for Grades K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12, and four CEO’s Choice Awards selected by incoming AuMHC director Dr. Kelly Phillips-Henry.

Sophie of High Plains Elementary wins 2nd place (K-3rd grade)

On hand were Board President Harrison Cochran and Fundraising/Events Chair Mark Stephenson to award 20 individual arts award with some help from Steve Mazzini of Colorado Access. One way the organization provides support for children and youth in the community is through their School Based Team, which provides mental health care and behavioral support for youth and their families at 34 schools across four school districts and well as Community College of Aurora.

AuMHC CEO Kelly Phillips-Henry thanked parents, kids and sponsors

Prior to joining AuMHC, Dr. Phillips-Henry served as Chief Executive Officer at Mental Health Partners in Boulder. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran with background work as a psychologist, management in behavioral health and integrated physical healthcare.

The AuMHC art winners this year:
Grades K thru 3:
2nd Place to Sophie Joslyn, 1st Grade from High Plains Elementary, for Be Kind to Animals
1st Place to Cora Hankins, 3rd Grade, from High Plains Elementary, for Sprinkle a Trail of Kindness

Grades 4 thru 6:
2nd Place to Olivia Hoffman, 5th Grade, from Belleview Elementary, for “Be Kind To The Earth”
1st  Place to Olivia Nuetzel, 5th Grade, from High Plains Elementary School, for “Generations of Love”

Grades 7 thru 8:
2nd Place to Emma Dienhart, 8th Grade, from Fox Ridge Middle School, for “Kind Goes Around”
1st Place to Samantha Tiongson, 7th Grade, from St Pius X, for “Kindness Matters”

Grades 9 thru 12:
2nd Place to Jasmine Tucker, 12th Grade, from William Smith High School, for “If you are my Shield, I will be your Umbrella”
1st Place to Isabella Drew, 12th Grade, from Hinkley High School, for “When You Give A Kid Some Kindness”

For Photography:
2nd Place to Manharsh Mohan, 11th Grade, from Overland High School, for “The Gift of Love”
1st Place goes to Frances Quintana, 10th Grade, from Overland High School, for “Be Kind To Nature”

Teacher Recognition:
Brooks Hart, High Plains Elementary School
Kristen Ergenbright, St. Pius X
Georgene Gallington, Hinkley High School
James Dykstra, Overland High School

CEO’s Choice Awards:
Lily Hurtgen, High Plains Elementary: “Kindness Shared is Beautiful”
Elize Zhang High Plains Elementary: “You Are Special Whoever You Are”
Liam Hose, Fox Ridge Elementary: “Kindness Matters First”
MacKennzie Price, High Plains Elementary: “Forever Loving”
Trinity Helfin, Aurora Central High School: “Love One Another”

Special thanks to this year’s sponsors: Citywide Banks and Colorado Access. For more information on how to volunteer and donate to AuMHC please visit their web site: www.aumhc.org or call 303- 617-2300.