The First Thing I Do When I Get Home

“An anchor doesn’t have to be one thing, and it doesn’t have to be one hundred. Anchors are whatever you want them to be as long as you feel they’re helping you be the best version of yourself you can be.”

Find Your Anchor

“During times of stress, I find myself either wanting to be active or make any form of art […] I made my entry to share what my anchors are and hopefully inspire others to find their anchors as well. […] Now that I know what my main anchors are, I can go to them whenever I need to. It makes me feel organized and prepared knowing that I can always go do these things and come back feeling better.”

Faded Ink

“When I wrote this piece, I wanted it to capture the concept that things will get better as time goes on. It goes back to the ‘hope’ aspect of Directing Change, and I wanted it to show that while so many people are struggling with mental health, or other issues, that there is always another reason to stay here. In this piece, it shows a young girl who had been planning on attempting suicide, but found help, and got better. I related it back to hope, showing there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel, if you choose to follow it.”


“I turned to art and writing as a way to use creativity as an outlet for my emotions. Throughout the poem, I use my hands as a symbol of instruments of past acts of destruction, but more importantly, as vessels for the art and poetry that helped save me. My experiences often feel like handfuls [that are] too big to hold, but they are made easier by the relief brought by seeing my hardships illustrated in acts of creativity. Art and writing poetry helped me understand my own experiences and helped me forge a path toward recovery.”


“My piece is a poem about my struggle with body image. Every day, I used to feel terrible, and think horrible thoughts about myself. Throughout my experience, my mental health deteriorated even more. But some part of me knew that it would pass, knew that I would get over it. A sliver of hope helped me get through many of my issues, and I hope it can guide others out of the dark as well.”

Hope to Blossom

“People are so set in their ways and don’t have hope for what their lives could be if they broke the cycle of depression in their lives that is holding them back from success. As someone who is autistic, it can feel like I’m the ‘outcast’ or the ‘weed’ who can’t have hope or succeed in life because I am disabled. I wrote this poem to show people who are on the spectrum or don’t feel worthy that [they] can still find hope and live a life beyond what others think [they can].”

Eye of the Storm

“My entry is a reflection of attempting to overcome mental struggles. What I wanted to highlight and bring attention to is the fact that after overcoming mental struggles, you aren’t actually cured. You still live and cope with things, and it will never truly go away. But, if you have help from people who love and care about you, you can learn to comfortably live with your pain and struggles. Instead of being engulfed by the pain, or ‘the storm,’ you can learn to live, or even thrive, in the center. This is why my piece is part of the hope category, because however dark it might start out, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, or in the eye of the storm.”

Mental Health Awareness

“I chose this category because I know that many people struggle with mental health and I wanted to make this art for them to show my support.”

Don’t Speak

“Trauma can be difficult for people to speak up about. It’s even harder to talk about your trauma when you don’t have people who are supportive and willing to take you seriously. It’s very important that people have someone to talk to about their traumatic experiences [with], because talking about it helps in overcoming it; it’s also important that people recognize their ability to create safe spaces. […] I have overcome my own trauma thanks to my friends who have given me a place where I feel safe and comfortable enough to talk about it.”