Over a million youth reached with a message on “health and wellbeing” Annual Walgreens Expressions Challenge Launched Aug. 15
Walgreens is proud to launch the 10th Annual Expressions Challenge, a creative arts competition for teens to voice their opinions on critical issues and encourage healthy decisions for a healthy future. Teens are given the opportunity to showcase their creative perspective on healthy lifestyle choices in three categories: creative writing, visual arts, and multimedia arts for a chance to win prizes. First place students in each category will receive $2,000, second place students will receive $1,250 in each category.
For 10 years, the Expressions platform has allowed teens to address what is most important in their lives. Launched originally to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS among teens, Expressions has gone down new paths as young people have used their creativity to address topics that concern them, including teen pregnancy, gender identity, drug abuse, self-esteem, cyber-bullying, anxiety, depression, and more.
Expressions continues to motivate youth to take a stand and use their voices for good works. This year’s Challenge launched Aug. 15, 2019 in all Chicagoland and St. Louis high schools and runs until Dec. 15, 2019. Go to ExpressionsChallenge.com for more information.
Expressions encourages parents, educators, and adults to take an active role to have a better understanding of what is taking place in the lives of youth, facilitate open conversations and implement support systems.
John Gremer, director of community relations for Walgreens states, “This platform has given teens a voice and changed thousands of students lives over the years. We are celebrating this important anniversary by showcasing the evolution of the conversation and their stories, which have been outstanding.”
Where are they now?
Walgreens launched Expressions in 2009, as a healthy choice initiative in Chicago Public Schools, in response to a report from the Centers for Disease Control that youth were the fastest growing new cases of HIV.
Over the years, Walgreens has reached over 1 million students with a message of support and youth empowerment. While the students create their own unique expressions, the teachers and parents really drive this initiative.
Jennifer Brown, a teacher from Mather High School said, “Expressions offers an opportunity to explore important topics, helps students form opinions, and then provides a platform for them to express their thoughts and feelings.”
While the themes expressed in the annual competition have evolved over the years, one thing has remained a constant: teens who have participated confirm that the opportunity to express themselves on critical issues helped them later in life. The Expressions team reached out to former winners to find out “where are they now?”
Alexis Johnson from Bolingbrook High School entered the Expressions Challenge in 2017, to explore her struggles with her identity as a black woman. Johnson shared that she was “struggling trying to see my internal beauty rather than what society was fixated on.” She created an art piece she calls, “the external shell,” to understand her insecurities and discover her identity. Johnson is currently attending Bradley University studying studio arts and pre-med, and now gives back to her peers by inspiring others to be comfortable in their own skin.
Follow this link to learn more about past winners and see their work: