Students in grades 3-12 can submit online by May 1.
With schools closed due to COVID-19, it’s a safe bet that many students are spending more time than usual playing online games. A new contest, open to Berks County students in grades 3 through 12, is asking kids to create an artistic poster depicting The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Online Gaming. The top entries will be displayed on billboards throughout the county.
The poster contest is being sponsored by the Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA) as part of an awareness campaign about problem gambling and online gaming. COCA has held a gambling-themed poster contest for several years, but this is the first year it is being opened up to all students countywide, and the first year students can submit artwork online.
Any Berks County student in grades 3 through 12 is eligible to participate, including cyber-schooled and home-schooled youth. Submissions will be judged in three age categories: elementary (grades 3-5), middle school (grades 6-9), and high school (grades 10-12).
Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place winners and one honorable mention in each category. The top winners will have his or her poster displayed on billboards and will receive a $100 Visa gift card, a framed copy of the poster, and four Reading Fightin’ Phils tickets. All other winners will receive gift cards ranging from $25 to $75, as well as other prizes.
The Council on Chemical Abuse is committed to educating youth about the risks of gambling and gaming. Research has shown that youth who become obsessed with gaming while their brains are still developing may be at greater risk for developing long-term problems.
“Gaming can provide students with a way to enjoy their time and connect with friends,” said Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz, COCA’s Director of Planning & Resource Development. “However, obsessive amounts of time spent on gaming can turn into an addiction for some individuals.”
By engaging students in a poster contest, COCA hopes to get more kids thinking about the potential hazards of online gaming, and, hopefully, coming up with solutions.
“We believe our youth have a unique perspective on how to prevent the problems associated with online gaming and with this poster contest we’d like to hear from them,” said Goodman-Hinnershitz.
For complete contest guidelines and submissions visit cocaberks.org/2020/postercontest.
About Council on the Chemical Abuse (COCA)
Established in 1972 by a group of community members, the Council on Chemical Abuse was formed as a private non-profit organization to address rising concerns of drug and alcohol use in Berks County. The Berks County Commissioners contract with the Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA) as the Single County Authority for Berks County, PA. As the coordinating agency for publicly supported drug and alcohol programming in the county, COCA and its partners provide an array of prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery services.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpg.org/chat for confidential help.