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Idaho students invited to compete in writers, civics contests

Students throughout Idaho at a range of grade levels are invited to participate in two upcoming competitions.

PBS Writers Contest

For the 27th year, Idaho Public Television is hosting the PBS KIDS Writers Contest. IdahoPTV’s three regional stations — KUID/Moscow, KISU/Pocatello and KAID/Boise — encourage young authors and artists in kindergarten through third grade to write and illustrate their own imaginative story and submit it by Saturday, March 20, for a chance to win prizes and have their work published online.

Entry forms, rules, FAQs and teacher tips are available at The contest is open to children in grades K-3 residing within IdahoPTV’s over-the-air service area, which includes all of Idaho and parts of Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon and Nevada.

Regional volunteer panels will judge the entries on creativity, originality, language skills and illustrations. Winners in each grade level from each of the three Idaho regions will be selected and will receive prizes including toys, books and a $100 contribution to an IDeal — Idaho’s college savings program account. Winners will be announced on or around April 1, 2021.

In May, a virtual awards ceremony will be held in each region of Idaho to celebrate the winners and their stories. The winning stories will then be uploaded in full color onto IdahoPTV’s website.

Ninth Circuit Civics Contest

Treasure Valley high school students are invited to compete for cash prizes in an upcoming civics contest, which asks students, “What does our American community ask of us?”

The Ninth Circuit Civics Contests, open to high school students in the western U.S. and Pacific islands, charges students with crafting videos and essays that try to strike a balance between individual rights and collective responsibility in light of important global and national events that have brought related questions to the forefront, according to a press release. More specifically, students must answer, “How should we as a society strike the appropriate balance within the framework of our Constitution between safeguarding our rights and fulfilling our responsibilities to each other?”

A total of $11,400 in cash prizes will be awarded in the circuit-wide contest. The top three finishers in both the essay and video competitions will receive $3,000 for 1st place, $1,700 for 2nd place and $1,000 for 3rd place. A commemorative prize also will be awarded to the top finishers at the circuit level.

The contest is sponsored by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the circuit’s public information and community outreach team and the federal district and bankruptcy courts in the 15 judicial districts that comprise the Ninth Circuit. Contest rules and other information are available at

Entries will be accepted starting February 1, 2021. Entries are due March 17 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Finalists will be announced in May and the winners in June.


NEW YORK─High school seniors impacted by Alzheimer’s disease can win up to $5,000 for college through the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) national Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest. Students can enter the contest by visiting The deadline for submissions is Feb. 15, 2021.

AFA’s scholarship essay contest is open to college-bound high school seniors. Applicants must submit a 1,200 to 1,500-word essay describing how Alzheimer’s disease has impacted their lives and what they have learned about themselves, their family and/or their community through their experience with Alzheimer’s.

Awards range from first prize of $5,000, second prize of $2,500, third prize of $1,500 to honorable mentions between $400 and $1,000. Since the program’s inception, nearly $300,000 in college scholarships have been awarded.


Campaign Group of Idaho business partners and friends recently came together to create an act of kindness to last throughout the year. A group of cattle professionals and friends pledged over $22,000 to ensure that beef is included in 100 meals a day provided by the partner network of the Idaho Foodbank for every day of 2021.

“Hunger does not discriminate,” said John Hepton, owner of Hepton Livestock LLC. “Parents can’t function and kids can’t learn if their basic nutritional needs are not met. Our businesses are part of the food chain here in Idaho, so food relief efforts helping neighbors in our communities is extremely important to us.”

The goal of the IdahoKind campaign is to generate 1,000 acts of kindness and raise $200,000 to provide food for up to one million meals from Jan. 18 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) until Feb. 14 (Valentine’s Day). The statewide campaign was inspired by the generosity of Duane and Lori Stueckle who pledged a challenge match of $100,000. The Idaho Foodbank encourages all Idahoans to perform acts of kindness in their communities – walk a neighbor’s pet, buy a coffee for the person behind you, send a thank you note, volunteer for a local organization, donate to a favorite nonprofit, and share this feel-good story on social media using #IdahoKind.

Participants include Advantage Veterinary, Hepton Livestock LLC, Reynolds Creek Calf Ranch, Weiser River Cattle Feeders, Wilder Cattle Feeders and Wilson Creek Cattle Feeders.


BOISE─A recent grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation will help the Children’s Home Society of Idaho’s Community Support Program continue to provide mental, emotional and behavioral health care to families, regardless of their ability to pay.

The $500,000 grant from the foundation will go towards the base of operations that ensures the type of progress the Children’s Home Society has achieved over the past five years. According to a press release, the gift puts the organization in position to have continued sustainability as they work to meet the increasing demands for mental health care.

“The level of the generous gift from the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation is gloriously overwhelming and the amount of gratitude to attribute to this gift is beyond words,” said Anselme Sadiki, executive director of the Children’s Home Society. “When all hopes seemed to fade away, the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation has been there to rekindle our energy, courage, and commitment to keep the mission of the Children’s Home alive – ensuring the children in our community have access to much needed mental and behavioral health care services. We are simply grateful and very blessed.”


BOISE─The Idaho Humanities Council (IHC), the statewide nonprofit devoted to enhancing public awareness, appreciation and understanding of the humanities in Idaho, recently awarded $66,807 in grants to organizations and individuals. The grants were supported in part by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Idaho Humanities Council’s Endowment for Humanities Education.

The Cabin was awarded $3,000 for program support for the 2020-2021 yearly readings and conversations season. City Club of Boise was awarded $2,500 for program support for the 2021 City of Club of Boise: Compelling, Inclusive, Nonpartisan, Civil Conversations. Boise Art Museum, Boise, was awarded $4,650 for a new exhibit hosted at the Boise Art Museum, titled “The World Stage.” Global Lounge Incorporated, Boise, was awarded $2,500 for the 2021 World Village Festival.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival was awarded $4,000 for the Shakespearience program which will take a Shakespeare play into the schools virtually. Idaho Latino Scholarship Foundation, Inc., Boise, was awarded $2,000 for the annual Nuestros Corridos Concert event and associated workshops. Liberating Spirit Metropolitan Community Church, Boise, was awarded $1,000 to support the production of a documentary focusing on the Boise 7.

Boise State University was awarded $1,000 to support a diverse public lecture series complimenting a new course (Language, Race, and Ethnicity) for the Spring of 2021 term at Boise State University. Garden City Library Foundation, Garden City, was awarded $1,000 to purchase new books for its Bells for Books bookmobile program. Children’s Museum of Idaho, Inc., Meridian, was awarded $900 to support four camps to children ages 4-6 and their parents.

Village at Meridian 2020 giving recap

The Village at Meridian issued a press release, announcing it is thankful to be an active partner in the community. “This is our community, these are our people, and this is what we do.”

“In difficult times, communities come together, and we are proud to be a place that can partner with our community organizations,” said Debby Smith, marketing and business development manager for Centercal Properties LLC. “This is our community, these are our people, and this is what we do.”

Over the past year, The Village has lent a helping hand in many community efforts, including:

  • Turning an empty space into a blood donation site for The American Red Cross, holding a total of 25 blood drives collecting 1,114 pints of blood saving 3,342 lives.
  • Holding three holiday toy drives supporting a variety of charities.
  • Holding a diaper drive for the Idaho Diaper Bank. Over 300 families received cases of diapers totaling over 12,000 diapers.
  • Providing a spot for the Meridian Food Bank Collection — over 7,574 pounds (four truckloads) were collected in addition to $2,650 in cash donations.
  • The Village at Meridian Concierge team implemented a “Your Concierge Connection Cares” campaign, making face masks for essential workers in the community.
  • Getting lunch for over 25 police officers in the Meridian Police Department from Kona Grill.
  • Providing 200 therapeutic socks to ER health care workers by partnering with Fleet Feet.
  • Donating 55 meals to the staff at Copper Springs Nursing Home by partnering with Habit Burger.

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