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Art & Culture

DRC-MC Awards Students for Creative Ways to Resolve Conflicts

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CONROE, TX – For the past 5 years, The Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County, Inc. (DRC-MC) has sponsored a Conflict Resolution Day Bookmark Art Contest for Montgomery County students in kindergarten through 8th grade. With 55 schools participating this year and over 2,000 entries submitted countywide from private, public, and home-schooled students, the task for contest judges was enormous.

The bookmark art is created by students to start the conversation about getting along with others and to reduce bullying. Children are faced daily with challenges involving peer pressure and bullying while trying to develop conflict resolution skills such as being respectful to others, showing tolerance, apologizing, listening, and handling bullying without violence. Many of the challenges can be resolved through constructive problem-solving techniques. There are three levels for the contest, K-2nd grade, 3-5th grade, and 6-8th grade.

Judges selected winners from over 2,000 entries to the DRC-MC’s Bookmark Art Contest.

Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, the judges met to determine winning bookmark entries. Winning students will be recognized on Friday, Oct. 19th at 4:00 p.m. at the Sadler Building, 501 N. Thompson Street on the 4th floor of the Commissioners Court. Family, teachers, and school administrators will be present as Judge Kathleen Hamilton awards prizes to the winners chosen for their creativity and message to encourage peaceful resolutions.

One of the judges of the Bookmark Art Contest, Catherine Prestigiovanni, Tri-County Behavioral Health Center, had a few observations: “Not all of these bookmarks are about happy times, some of them teach us about the darker side of reality and how if we look beneath the surface we might find a child who needs help but can’t verbalize it, and this bookmark has allowed them to speak out. I can see the heart and soul of so many of these kids within their bookmarks, and they all want the same thing really; for humanity to be kind to one another.”

The winning bookmarks will be displayed at the Montgomery County Memorial Central Library 30 days following the ceremony. In 2017, the DRC-MC distributed 16,000 copies of the top winning bookmarks throughout the county to encourage a culture of kindness. Artists with the Conroe Art League turned last year’s 1,927 bookmark entries into two 3d Bookmark Collages which are on display at The Woodlands Art Council Spotlight in the Woodlands Mall (on the second floor near the Food Court).

 

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Conflict Resolution Day is officially the 3rd Thursday in October and occurs during National Mediation Week. Each October the DRC-MC sponsors the #ITookThePledge social media campaign that asks residents and community leaders to pledge to use peaceful means to resolve disputes. Participants are then encouraged to take a picture of their signed Pledge and to post that picture on Facebook or Twitter during the month of October with #ITookThePledge and @montgomerycountyDRC (Facebook) or @drcmci (Twitter) to create a safer place for all of us in the community. Each entry will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift card.

The DRC-MC challenges all Montgomery County residents to take the pledge to make our community a better place by resolving to be kind to each other. Elected officials, teachers, parents, and community partners have all taken the pledge. Everyone can be a part of the movement to create peace and reduce drama.

Jim Kuykendall, Mayor of Oak Ridge, shows off his signed Conflict Resolution Pledge.

“It was impressive to see the array of creative works of art spread throughout the enormous room where the judging took place,” said Lois Voth, Board Chair for DRC-MC. “I was struck by the individual expressions of each of the 2,000+ children and how these young peacemakers affect families, friends and schools.”

The Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County, Inc. (DRC-MC) is located in Downtown Conroe at 301 N. Thompson Street across the street from the Courthouse and is celebrating 30 years of resolving conflicts. The Montgomery County Commissioners Court and Montgomery County Bar Association established the nonprofit organization in 1988 and the DRC-MC has been helping people with difficult conversations since that time. Mediation fees are administered on a sliding scale based on ability to pay to prevent disputes from escalating into serious civil or criminal matters. For more information about DRC-MC, visit www.resolution-center.org, www.Facebook.com/MontgomeryCountyDRC, or call (936) 760-6914 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

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