Monthly Prompt Judging Form


Dear Judge,

We encourage you to seek personal support if you become troubled by the content of this category. If you experience an emotional crisis, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or to the California Warmline at (855) 845-7415.

The entries you are judging are submissions in the Hope and Justice category. Entries in this category deal with a variety of topics including mental health, suicide prevention, social justice and other complex topics that need to be addressed with compassion and knowledge.

For this category we asked youth to communicate about what they are feeling, increase knowledge about an issue or take a stand against injustice, or share their perspective in a way that gives others a glimpse into their lives. While some youth submit entries share ideas for solutions to the issues of concern, others used this as an opportunity to process their feelings in a therapeutic way. We welcome all types of submissions. In our submission criteria, we remind youth that whatever message they choose, their submissions need to be thoughtful and respectful. We asked youth to be honest about their feelings, but to be sure their entries convey that they are coming from a place of cultural humility and has the intent to further understanding and constructive dialogue about social justice and change. So, as a judge please score each of these entries based on how well they conveyed their messages and followed these guidelines. At any point if you are experiencing technical difficulties with the website, or have questions regarding the category, please email or call (619) 786-5622.

In advance, we appreciate your time.


Entry Details


A High Schooler’s Backpack



Description from the submitter

“A High Schooler’s Backpack”, demonstrates how it can be overwhelming to be in high school, especially in the upperclassmen years. With everything from homework and planning for after high school, to extracurricular activities and trying to live a happy, healthy life, it can be hard to manage and keep track of. The backpack represents this real life situation, with the bag bursting open because of how much stuff is in it. All of the objects inside or falling out of the backpack represent elements of my life and priorities that can sometimes be hard to juggle with school. There is a postcard from a college, signifying the looming future of college. My grandparents died from COVID last year, and their photo symbolizes me trying to find closure throughout the pandemic and this year. The book with the brain symbolizes me trying to find mindfulness and take care of my mental health. Other notable elements include a stuffed dog that represents nostalgia, a wolf drawing that showcases uncertainty about the school year, and a water bottle that symbolizes the goal of a healthy lifestyle. Several papers and the sticky notes represent several other events and homework that come on a daily basis. As hard as it is, it is important to keep going and trying your best to manage, seen by the girl slowly walking up the steps.

Judge Name*

Messaging Scoring Measures

Please enter a number from 0 to 25.

Prompt: Dear Me: Youth were asked to create a piece of art, film, or letter with a message to your future self. Take time to reflect on what you would like the future to bring in a year, two years, five years, ten years, or more! To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month in May, be sure to include how you have taken care of your mental health or your goals for taking care of your mental health in the future. Your message can remind you of your accomplishments or be a reminder of what you’ve overcome and experienced. Use this as an opportunity to send your future-self a hopeful message that reminds you about your resiliency and strength.

The lime green ribbon is a symbol of mental health and may be incorporated in submissions in a creative way.

Entries can:
  • Share with your future self how you are “more than a mental illness.” What are the amazing qualities you have and the things you are most passionate about?
  • Create a piece of art or short film that shares a message of hope and encouragement to your future self. You could share some of the coping techniques that are working for you, how you overcame adversity, or how you successfully managed your mental health or mental illness.
  • Create a piece of art, audio recording, letter, or short film that imagines what your future self will be like, what your dreams are, or reminds you of your strengths and resilience.
  • Be creative! When creating your message to your future self, think of yourself not just as students, but as human beings: as a sister, brother, friend, an artist, an advocate, a leader, etc. How do you hope to support others in the future and what support do you hope to receive?
Please enter a number from 0 to 15.
While this scoring measure is highly subjective and based on each individual’s feelings after viewing the submission, the goal of this scoring measure is to judge how well the youth succeeded in inspiring the audience in a way that leaves a lasting and meaningful impact and/or provided information that will advance knowledge on the topic.
Please enter a number from 0 to 25.
Please enter a number from 0 to 15.
This is less about content, but about the creativity used to communicate the content.
Please enter a number from 0 to 10.
  • If a film or TikTok – consider the focus, exposure, audio clarity, use of graphics and/or special effects, pacing and flow.
  • If a painting, digital art, sketch, comic, animation, or other 2-D art – consider the skill in use of line, color, form, texture, perspective, visual rhythm, etc.
  • If a radio PSA – consider the pace, clarity of messaging, use of music or sound effects, overall flow of script, etc.
  • If original music – consider the clarity, rhythm, musical and/or mechanical skill, phrasing, etc.
  • If a blog, poem, spoken word, essay or other narrative – consider the structure, grammar, word choice, flow, rhyme scheme, expressiveness, etc.
Please enter a number from 0 to 10.
If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
Directing Change is part of statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
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