An Edison teen who wrote about creating a slime business to help children with sensory problems has won a $1,000 prize.
Girls With Impact and the BIC Corporate Foundation announced the winners of the 2021 Creative Writing Contest for youth ages 12-21.
The first-place award went to Lara Cakir, 15, of Edison.
Upon hearing the news, the John P. Stevens High School student said, “Being a winner means a lot to me but knowing that I can have an impact means the world. I am exhilarated and thankful for the opportunity,” according to a statement released on Sept. 27.
The contest asked participants to explore questions such as what creativity means to them; how their own creative expression supported personal development and education; and what advice they would give to teachers, educators, and policy makers in order to accelerate the development of creative skills in youth, according to the statement.
The winning submissions explored this intersection of creativity and social impact and drew from a range of personal experiences and thoughtful expression.
“Once again, the message we’re hearing from the next generation is all about impact,” Jennifer Openshaw, CEO of Girls With Impact, said in the statement. “The ideas and innovation they’re developing speaks to the desire for social change.”
Serenity LaChance, 17, of East Hampton, Connecticut, and a student at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, received the $500 second place award for her essay on using creativity to express yourself and heal.
The $250 third place award went to Rika Nishikawa, 14, of Chicago, a homeschooled student, for her essay on increasing access to books to improve literacy.
“Congratulations to all the winners. We are inspired by your creative writing, entrepreneurial skills and your drive to create positive impact in society,” Alison James, executive director of the BIC Corporate Foundation, said in the statement. “The foundation is proud to partner with Girls With Impact on this essay contest because it clearly shows the important role of creativity in helping improve the lives of underserved communities, which is part of our mission.”
Girls With Impact runs the nation’s only live, online business and leadership academy for young women. All winners will also be awarded a seat in Girls With Impact’s 10-week business and leadership program.
To learn more about the academy, or to register, visit www.girlswithimpact.org/