USCCB News Release
November 14, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Campaign for Human Development Names Winner in Eighth Annual Multi-Media Youth Arts Contest
WASHINGTON—Stacy Plummer, a recent graduate of Catholic Central High School in Troy, New York, is the winner of the grand prize in the 2008 Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) Multi-Media Youth Arts contest. CCHD is the national anti-poverty program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Ms. Plummer submitted a drawing entitled, "Game Over." It shows a boy playing a video game in which he has completed Level One, which involved feeding the poor.
"People treat poverty like it's easy to solve, like a game. But real life isn't like that," Ms. Plummer said.
Timothy Heilman, chair of the Fine Arts Department at her school, arranged for Plummer's class to enter the contest. Ms. Plummer wanted to send a real message about poverty.
"No one takes it seriously enough," she said. "People don't know what it's really like to be in poverty. A lot of the time, people are not only supporting themselves - they're trying to support others."
Ms. Plummer hoped to tell people to "stop turning their heads" because "poverty affects everyone." Everyone has a role to play, Ms. Plummer said, including lawmakers and citizens. "We need changes in our laws to really make a difference."
Mercy Sister Maureen Joyce, CCHD director for the Diocese of Albany, New York, said "the Arts Contest is a creative way to get youth involved in learning about CCHD." The judges chose the winning piece, she said, because "Stacy's art spoke to the issue of systemic change."
"It's one thing to talk about poverty. Stacy went beyond that, asking, 'What are we doing to alleviate poverty?' She wanted to remind her peers that we have a responsibility not only for charity but also for justice," Sister Joyce said. "Feeding the poor is only the first step."
Ms. Plummer will be honored as the grand prize winner December 5, in Cleveland at the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry, a biennial gathering of some 2,500 youth. The award will be presented by the event emcees and Jill Rauh, CCHD Youth and Young Adult Coordinator. Ms. Plummer will split the $1,000 grand prize with Albany Community Land Trust, an Albany group that develops affordable housing for low-income people and combats community deterioration by promoting economic opportunities in low-income neighborhoods. Albany Community Land Trust is also a CCHD grant funds recipient.
CCHD developed the Multi-Media Youth Arts Contest in 2001, to help schools and parishes engage youth in learning about low-income people in the U.S. who are addressing the root causes of poverty. It is open to students in grades seven through twelve in Catholic parishes and schools. This year, students were asked to work from the theme, "This is the REAL World: Poverty U.S.A." through visual arts, audio-visual means, or literature. Original works were submitted to diocesan-level competitions. Local winners were forwarded to Washington for final judging. In the Albany Diocese, 125 individuals submitted art work.
Ralph McCloud, CCHD director, said that "Through the contest, young Catholics have a special opportunity to learn about the reality of poverty in the United States and about what empowered, low-income persons are doing to change their own neighborhoods and communities."
"Stacy's artwork showed that the solution to poverty is much broader than simply feeding the hungry. There are structural and systemic issues to be addressed. Responding to poverty is a response to our faith. We all have a role to play, whether that role is voting or running for office, becoming involved with community organizations, or educating others through powerful artwork. I applaud Stacy's efforts to use her talents to encourage others to become involved."
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the domestic anti-poverty and social justice program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. With the support of Catholic parishioners, it has provided grants to more than 4,000 community and economic development projects over the past 39 years. The annual CCHD collection is taken up in most Catholic parishes in the United States on the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Additional information about the contest and other CCHD initiatives for Catholic youth and young adults is available at the CCHD website http://www.usccb.org/cchd/youth.shtml or by calling Jill Rauh at 202-541-3297.