A Charter School of Wilmington student won a college scholarship for her creative and insightful book advocating tolerance and diversity.
The winner of this year’s Diverse Minds Writing Challenge in the Delmarva area is “True Colors,” written by Faith Kim from Charter School of Wilmington in Wilmington, Delaware. Diverse Minds is a contest where high school students write and illustrate children’s books to help elementary school children celebrate and appreciate tolerance and diversity. Kim was announced as the winner at an awards ceremony at the Delmarva Power Conference Center on June 4.
This education and awareness initiative was created as part of B’nai B’rith programming that promotes tolerance and communicates a message of equality among all citizens. Funded by Delmarva Power, the contest aims to enlighten, inspire and educate America's young people and their families in an effort to eradicate prejudices and strengthen ties among today’s youth.
Kim struggled to fit in at several new schools as a child, thus the topic of diversity and intolerance resonates with her deeply and personally. The protagonist in her book experiences many of the things that Kim experienced growing up. Lessons drawn from her book reflect her belief that “it is imperative that we teach the importance of having an open mind to today’s youth.”
“Along with a diverse environment comes the need for tolerance and inclusion, and these ideas are oftentimes harder to embrace. So our efforts in recent years have been to underscore the importance of these pivotal concepts — particularly around bullying, diverse families and religious tolerance,” said Diverse Minds Writing Challenge Program Manager Laura Jeser.
At the ceremony, the finalists and winners were congratulated by Jeser; Gary Stockbridge, region president of Delmarva Power; and Enid Wallace-Simms, senior public affairs manager of Delmarva Power.
Stockbridge talked about the significance of this program.
“At Delmarva Power, we believe that having a diverse team of people — with different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and perspectives — helps us deliver better service for our customers,” Stockbridge said. “We value opportunities to partner with organizations like B’nai B’rith to teach young people across our service area about the importance of diversity and inclusion, which builds on our efforts as a committed community partner to improve the quality of life across the region.”
By placing first, Kim received a $5,000 college scholarship and her book has been professionally published. It will be distributed to local schools, libraries and community organizations, as well as to the annual TODAY Show Holiday Toy and Gift Drive. Her book will also be accessible in an e-book format and will be available on iTunes and Amazon as a free download.
Second place winner Molly McCormick from Worcester Preparatory School in Berlin, Maryland wrote and illustrated “Tide Pools” and received a $2,000 scholarship. Third place winner Emma Edelin from Fallston High School in Fallston, Maryland wrote and illustrated “Our Differences Make Us the Same” and won a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, the teacher who advised Kim, Greg Darone, received a $1,000 grant to use for classroom or organizational materials. Charter School of Wilmington received a $500 grant.
Since the contest began in the 2006-2007 school year, B’nai B’rith has published 41 original children’s books, in two different languages (English and Spanish), awarded more than $330,000 in college scholarships and grants and donated more than 45,000 books to public schools, libraries and community organizations across the country.
A diverse panel of judges from the worlds of education, the arts, business and government, along with B’nai B’rith International leaders, reviewed the submissions and selected the winners. Judges this year included Stockbridge; Annemarie Hamilton, executive director of the Cecil County Arts Council, Inc.; Patti A. Grimes, executive director of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation; Tim Foxx, CEO of Communities in Schools; Renee Morris, executive director of Nanticoke Health Services Foundation; and Orrin White, assistant director of community engagement for United Way Delaware.
Atlantic City Electric and Pepco also held contests this week for students in South Jersey and in Washington D.C. This is the fifth year Atlantic City Electric, and sixth year Pepco has participated in the Diverse Minds Writing Challenge.