For a third year in a row, Personnel Security Consultants, Inc. (PSC), an American-Indian owned security firm located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, launched a children’s art contest on February 18 for Native American elementary and middle school children. The best illustrations will be featured in a calendar intended to raise awareness of child abuse with calendar sales benefiting a local nonprofit that offers child abuse prevention and treatment programs, the First Nations Community HealthSource (FNCH) clinic.
“The whole purpose of the calendar is to recognize child abuse—what the signs are and who to report it to,” said Michele Justice (Navajo), PSC founder, president and chief executive officer. Justice started her business nine years ago to aid tribes in conducting background checks to meet federal law. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently named PSC one of 100 winners of the Blue Ribbon Small Business Award, representing the best small businesses in America. (Read: Native-Owned Security Firm Makes List of 100 Top Small Businesses in America)
Justice uses her position to promote positive change, specifically protecting Native children.
“When I do training I still meet so many people who don’t know what the signs of abuse are,” Justice explained. “We’re hoping that the calendar will help serve those communities we haven’t visited.”
In 1990, Congress passed the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act, which requires investigations for employees, contractors or volunteers who have contact with Indian children. But despite the law, abuse, incest and other crimes against Indian children still prevail, a PSC press release states. American Indian/Alaskan Native children experienced a rate of child abuse and neglect of 16.5 percent per 1,000 Indian children, compared with 10.8 percent for white children, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Their artwork is beautiful and what they say is beautiful,” Justice said. “We incorporate children’s art and words in the calendar to help spread the message of safety and pride in our heritage.”
This year’s theme of the contest is “What makes you proud to be a Native American?” Children in kindergarten through the eighth grade may enter. Deadline for submission of artwork is May 31. Twelve winners will be chosen and receive a prize package, including school supplies, and be showcased on PSC’s website for a vote for the calendar cover throughout the month of July. The cover winner will be recognized at the unveiling reception during Native American Heritage Month in November and receive a donation to his or her community. For contest rules and entry forms, go to PSC’s website at pscprotectsyou.com.
PSC is seeking calendar sponsors. Past sponsors include Exhibit Solutions, Fieldprint, International Security Network, Isotopes, Navajo National Oil and Gas Company, Office Max, Rock Gap Engineering, TeamScreen Solutions, Staples and U.S. Bank.
For more information about PSC, go to pscprotectsyou.com.