Interview with Board Member Candace Blake-Amarante about the CCRC Writing Competition

This interview was done with Montreal Families to promote our writing competition. Check out the article here.

What is the CCRC writing competition, and what is its goal?

The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC) writing competition was created to help inform children about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC). The goal of the competition is for children to express their views and experiences with different aspects of children’s rights.

What does this writing contest hope to encourage?

The CCRC believes that it is imperative to create a culture that builds awareness of children’s rights in children themselves and society as a whole. At present, there is considerable lacunae in the general instruction of making children aware of their rights. We hope to encourage parents, teachers, guardians and children to use this rights-based creative writing contest as a means to help close these gaps.

Who should participate in this contest?

All children throughout Canada from ages 7 to 17 are welcome to participate. Creative works in both English and French will be accepted from now until April 1st, 2022.

What inspired the questions you are asking the participants as part of the competition this year?

The COVID 19 pandemic and the impact it is having on children’s lives led us to ask them to think about Article 12 of the UN CRC. Article 12 states that children and young people have the right to express their opinions to decision-makers, and be supported by adults in their lives to ensure they have opportunities to do so. During the COVID 19 pandemic, the voices of children were rarely heard especially when important decisions were being made that directly affected their everyday activities and their general welfare. We hope that this competition will give children a safe and creative space to share their thoughts and opinions.

How can we encourage youth and adolescents to pursue writing and what do you think are challenges they may face, or what stops them from writing or from enjoying writing (as a hobby, in school, etc.,)

The best way to prompt youth and adolescents to pursue writing is by creating safe spaces, like this writing competition, for them to express themselves. One way to encourage children to enjoy writing creatively is to impose less restrictions (like structures and following formulas) on the way they write, and allow them freedom and time to develop their imaginations.  Aside from adhering to the general theme of the competition, we would like children to answer one or more of the questions in the competition however they feel like doing so. It can be through letters, essays, short stories, plays, poems, journal-like entries, or other creative forms where they can write freely!

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