Hope and Justice


May Prompt: Dear Me

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.

Here is a great example:  Dear Future Me (created by students at Rancho Minerva Middle School)

The lime green ribbon is a symbol of mental health and should be incorporated in your submission in a creative way!

  • 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?

For more activities and information about mental health visit:  www.takeaction3MH.org

There is a lot going on in the world these days. It’s okay to feel tired, overwhelmed, angry, scared, confused. It’s okay to just feel.  Or if you are up for it, express yourself and use these feelings and your voice to encourage purposeful action and to start conversations that matter- through art.

View our monthly Hope & Justice Category winners here! 

Category Rules: Submissions are accepted from youth ages 12-25. Submissions are due at midnight of the last day of the month and winners will be announced by the 15th of the following month and shared via social media and on the website. Participants are eligible to submit one entry per month.  Prizes include: First place ($300), Second Place ($150), Third Place ($100), and Honorable Mention ($25) in Amazon gift cards. Winners will be selected by the Hope and Justice advisory group and the Directing Change Team. In addition, all 60-second film entries received prior to March 1, 2022 will also compete against all 60-second films entered in the Hope and Justice category for a chance at a statewide prize.

A submission includes the following:

This category includes an additional incentive – a cash award between $100 to $500 that can be used to support a community action project you create. To qualify you’ll need to complete a short application form explaining your idea and submit an entry submission in the Hope and Justice category. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis as funds are available and need to be started and completed between September 2021 and May 2022. Contact us if you’d like to get started.

Check out this video for a brief overview of the Hope & Justice submission category:

Getting Started.

Step 1.  Select a Submission Format

Express yourself! Any art form suitable for sharing via social media is acceptable: original music, dance, spoken word, art, poetry, a speech, ANYTHING! This is your chance to tell your story and be creative. Review the Entry Format Tips page to learn how to upload your film entry correctly.

  • Visual Art – submitted as a jpg or png file
    • Painting, digital art, sketching, comic, or any other art form
    • For tips on how to upload your artwork correctly visit the Tips and Resources section and please keep in mind the visual quality of your submission (e.g., a clear photo of your painting, with no glare), since we’ll be sharing winning submissions on social media
  • Original music (3 minutes or less) – submitted as mp3 file
    • Can also be submitted with a visual such as a music video, lyrics on screen, or recording of live performance
  • Short video, animation, or TikTok (Up to 60 seconds) – submitted as mp4 file
    • Submit your video file and, if submitting a TikTok, also tag @DirectingChange on your post
  • Radio PSA (30-seconds) – submitted as mp3 file
    • Must be a recorded audio submission
  • Video PSA (30-second or 60-seconds) – mp4 file
    • For these films, be sure to review the judging criteria
    • All 60-second film entries received prior to March 1, 2022 will also compete against all 60-second films entered in the Hope and Justice category for a chance at a statewide prize.
    • Video PSAs must include this end slate (updated as of January 2022) within the 30 or 60 second time limit
    • Video PSAs must include a Title slide– You may use this title slide template or you may create your own title slide as long as it includes the required informationDownload the Title Slide Template here
  • Blog, poem, spoken word, essays, or other narrative – submitted as pdf or Word file
    • Narrative submissions should be 500 words or less

Entries may be submitted in any language as long as English captions or an English translation is included.

All entries must communicate one or more of the following content themes. The entry form will ask you to provide a short paragraph about your submission and how it meets the submission criteria and incorporates one or more of the content themes.

Step Two:  Pick a Content Category (Hope or Justice)

Right now we are living through history, which can bring on a lot of feelings. How are you feeling right now about the Coronavirus pandemic, protests, racial injustice, upcoming elections, and anything and everything else going on in the world and in your life?

This is your chance to communicate about what you are feeling, how you are dealing with those feelings, and how others can do the same. Your content can be inspired by any of the message ideas listed in the HOPE or JUSTICE bullets below.


Create a film, song, narrative, or piece of art that shares your story and encourages others to find their own way to get through tough times.

  • What helps you get through tough times? Are you practicing self-care through reading, dancing, listening to music, writing, watching your favorite films? And what if that isn’t enough?
  • What do you see or experience in your life or community right now that gives you hope during this challenging time?


Our perspectives are shaped by our own backgrounds, identities, families, friends, life experiences and more.

  • Create a project that shares a perspective or your personal experience with discrimination or injustice because of who you are, in a way that gives others a glimpse of what it is like to walk in your shoes and live in your skin.
  • Create a project that combats bias by increasing knowledge and encouraging actions young people can take to take a stand against injustice.
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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