Expressing oneself creatively can be nerve-wracking.
Alicia Valadez, who was the grand prizewinner for her Create Real Impact writing entry last year, said she never really knew she was good at writing. She cast her doubt aside to enter the contest though because she was inspired by the prospect of a $1500 educational grant (which she earned) and recognized the importance of the subject: stopping the number one killer of teens in America—reckless and distracted driving.
We are in the midst of a revolution to change the culture of driving to one that is distraction-free, and it needs young voices. Alicia Valadez chose to enter the contest because she recognized that need even before she herself was a licensed driver. As a passenger, it was easy to see that people were driving distracted, but was hard to understand why. “Why would people still try to multitask behind the wheel even knowing how dangerous it is?” she wondered.
Alicia realized the need to convey something beyond facts and statistics; she realized that people needed to feel an emotional connection in order to really change, so she wrote an evocative piece of fiction—a short story that is powerfully relatable to teens especially.
This emotionally gripping piece tells the story of a young girl driving across state lines to visit a friend, and the distractions that bring about unspeakable tragedy. The reader is privy to her romantic daydreams about the boy she likes, her abrupt reality-checks conveyed through the use of onomatopoeia, and her ultimate appeal to drive distraction-free.
Cast all your doubts aside about whatever talents you think you lack, and challenge yourself to choose a medium that intimidates you. Whether you choose to write a poem, make a movie, conduct a symphony, or paint a Fresco, you will not only be spreading life-saving messages, but also documenting an important time in our nation’s trajectory.
Remember, history is unfinished; culture is fluid. How will you shape the future?