Getting Started

Here are some tips to help you get started implementing a local contest:

  • Form a team. Consider actively partnering across your ministry setting. For example, social concerns coordinators, teachers, religious educators, youth/campus ministers, and multi-cultural ministry directors each interact with youth in different settings.  You may consider forming a Creating on the Margins committee to plan and implement the contest jointly, and to judge the entries.
  • Select a contest theme. Select a contest theme that is flexible enough for creativity but is also specific enough to direct youth learning about the root causes of poverty. The best contest themes will help youth to engage with both of the two feet of love in action. Here are some examples of contest themes:
    • “More than a Roof” (on affordable housing)
    • “Open Wide Our Hearts” or “A Time to Heal Racism” (on racial justice)
    • “Share the Journey” (on migrants and refugees)
    • “Being Neighbors in Our Common Home” (on care for creation)
    • “Put Two Feet of Love in Action” (on charity and justice)
  • Localize the contest materials. See the section below for sample materials that you can adapt for your local contest.


U.S. Poverty and the Church’s Response

Consider arranging a speaker from a local community organization to help youth dive into the reality of poverty and its causes. Excellent speakers may be available through:

The following learning resources are available to help youth learn about poverty and its causes:

As people of faith, we put Two Feet of Love in Action to respond to poverty in our communities. Find stories here about how the Church is responding to the causes of poverty through the work of CCHD. You can also find out about the work of CCHD-funded organizations in your community. Here are a few examples:

Additional suggested activities:

  • Ask youth to read one or more stories of hope and to write a short essay reflecting on how the organizations’ work reflects the USCCB’s 7 themes of Catholic social teaching.
  • Create an opportunity for youth to showcase and explain their artwork to others (e.g. classmates, friends, parents, art fair for parish or school community, etc.)


Sample Contest Materials

The following sample materials may be adapted for local contest implementation.

Sample Contest Rules

These sample rules can be adapted for local purposes.

Criteria for Judging Entries

These sample criteria can be used or adapted. Be sure to share criteria with all contest participants before they create their artwork. Doing so can help educators who work with youth to reach the learning objectives for the contest.

The ideal entry will exemplify the following qualities in either the entry itself or the accompanying entry form:

  • Reflect artistic skill and creativity.
  • Exhibit an understanding of poverty and its causes in the local community.
  • Reflect an understanding of the two feet of love in action (i.e. charitable works and social justice).
  • Be relevant to the contest theme.
  • Portray the marginalized as empowered persons capable of leading efforts for change in their community as opposed to portrayal as victims. Illustrate that action to heal disparities and poverty is a response to our faith and the values of Catholic social teaching.
  • Exhibit learning about local efforts to address poverty in your diocese, such as the work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Sample Essay Questions

Requiring brief essay responses with each entry is a best practice for ensuring that youth are achieving the learning objectives for the contest.  Example essay questions might include:

  • Describe how your creative work reflects upon the contest theme.
  • Why does our faith call us to get involved with the community and work to address the injustices we see around us?
  • What community organization(s) did you learn about as part of this contest? How does their work put the “two feet of love” (charitable works and social justice) into action?

Sample Entry Form

This sample entry form can be adapted for local purposes.

Sample Judging Sheet

This sample judging sheet can be adapted for local purposes. Your selected judges can use this sheet to judge each entry received.

Additional considerations

Be sure to decide and communicate to educators and participants:

  • How many prizes will be awarded?
  • What prizes will be offered?
  • What is the due date for entry to the contest?
  • Where should entries be sent or delivered?


Creating on the Margins 2018 - Winners - Planting the Seeds of Our Future - Masnyk Recognizing the Winner(s) and Local Anti-Poverty Efforts

These ideas can serve to both recognize local winner(s) and draw attention to the work of the local Church to address poverty.

  • Create a “Creating on the Margins Gallery” to display work. This could be a public display over a period of time, such as at a local coffee shop or in a parish hall.  Or, it could be an event held on a particular date at which youth are present to talk about their work.
  • Schedule and publicize an awards reception or assembly to honor the winner(s). You may also wish to honor local community organization(s) that inspired the winners’ work. Invite the (arch)bishop to offer an opening prayer and say a few words of congratulations to the winners.
  • You may wish to solicit prizes from local businesses, such as gift certificates from a popular pizza restaurant, bakery, or coffee shop. If you offer a monetary prize, you may wish to also provide a donation to community organizations that inspired winners’ work, or to local anti-poverty efforts.
  • Invite local media, such as the diocesan newspaper, to cover any events that display or honor youth work.
  • Write or suggest a feature article about the contest and winners for your diocesan newspaper and for communications to Catholics from various departments in the diocese.