Each year, a little-known contest by a little-known agency in Washington, DC lets children of migrant farmworkers portray their lives in essays and drawings.
The annual contest by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs invites these children to submit essays and artwork for judging by a panel, with winners announced on the AFOP website and honored at the association’s annual conference. This year it was in San Diego. AFOP spokesperson Norma Flores described the experience:
“I could see the spark in their eyes as they received their awards at the conference.” As a former farmworker herself, she can relate to the importance of such recognition.
“It really does leave an impression, for them to know someone believes in them, which makes such a difference in their lives.”
It’s too bad the contest doesn’t reach more kids. Apparently only a few hundred or so of the 400 to 500 thousand migrant farmworking children even know about it.
Here’s hoping that changes.
Working in the fields is all we know, it’s all we think we’re good at, it’s what we do to survive… Falling behind in my studies is the main problem that I face every time I move from state to state… during my freshmen year I attended four high schools.
Zulema Lopez, 17 Laredo, TX
I feel as if I am going to faint but I know I can’t stop working… Sometimes I want to scream at the top of my lungs because the next day will be just the same. I hate the fact that no one thinks we can be anything but migrant workers
Veronica Rodriguez, age 15, Michigan