HAMMOND | Flowers, the sea, Disney characters, fairy tales. sports and checkers are among the themes of the chairs designed by local students for the fifth annual “Chairish the Children” art project which is on display during April at the Indiana Welcome Center in observance of Child Abuse Prevention month.
The chairs reflect the students’ interpretation of what it means to cherish local children, their thoughts on childhood and what children mean to the future of our world, committee chairman Sharon Hylek said.
Sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse Lake County, the display, which runs through April 30, features 70 chairs decorated by local adults and middle and high school students. A reception to auction off these artistic endeavors and acknowledge project participants will be held at the Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Dr. from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 30. The display can be viewed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The top three middle and high school entries will receive cash awards of $250 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place.
Hylek wrote the grant for the project and has chaired the committee since its inception five years ago.
Hylek said the 35 chairs decorated by adults were not judged as part of the student competition. This year there will also be People’s Choice Awards.
“We are very excited about this,” Hylek said.
“The Visitor’s Center has made an I Pad voting device available for people to cast their vote for their favorite chair,” Hylek said. “A student chair and a chair completed by an adult will each be chosen for the People’s Choice Award for 2014.”
People’s Choice voting will be available at the Welcome Center through Sunday, April 27.
The latest state statistics from the Indiana Department of Child and Family Services website indicate that in 2012 172,382 suspected incidents of child abuse and neglect were reported in Indiana. Of those, 20,000 were substantiated. Of the substantiated cases, 14,800 involved neglect, 3,214 sexual abuse and 1,992 physical abuse.