MILWAUKIE, Ore. (KOIN) — A Milwaukie fifth grader’s artwork is headed to Washington, D.C., in an effort to raise awareness about missing children.
Zion Brooks goes to Linwood Elementary. Her poster was selected out of all Oregon entries to represent the state in an annual “Missing Children’s Day” poster contest.
“The reason I put a heart is because all children should be loved,” Brooks told KOIN 6 News. “I put wings because all children are angels. And I put the words ‘Bring our missing children home.’”
The contest’s goal is to encourage communities to engage with children and their parents about child safety.
More than 2,000 children are reported missing every day in the U.S. About one in four are taken by family members. Only 7% are taken by non-family members.
In Oregon, Oregon’s Law Enforcement Data System showed 401 kids under the age of 18 missing as of April 2013.
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber wrote a letter congratulating Zion on a job well done. A staffer read it in class. “Oregon is proud that you’ll be representing our state,” wrote Kitzhaber, “and we wish you the best of luck.”
Zion said the picture only took her a few minutes to draw because she had practiced it at home.
“I had her reading books and she just picked up an art book,” said Brooks’ dad, Moddie Sesson, “and started drawing.”
Aside from her statewide recognition, Brooks and her classmates also received a pizza party.
May 25 is National Missing Children’s Awareness Day. National Missing Children’s Day has been held every year since 1983, when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan to commemorate the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz. He disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school.
Last year’s Oregon winner was from Oakridge, Oregon.