03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

An Opportunity for Kids to Fight Poverty Through Creativity

With a poverty crisis affecting one in six children in America, we need new ways to raise awareness and engage more Americans in this tragic yet reversible situation. Perhaps the best resource for advocacy is kids themselves. So here's a project that educates kids about the challenges too many of their peers face while harnessing their creativity to make change and, at the same time, gives them a chance to win a $500 savings bond and meet actor and advocate Julianne Moore.

In partnership with the American Federation of Teachers' (AFT) Randi Weingarten and Julianne Moore, Save the Children's U.S. Programs is holding a school-based art contest this month. We're asking young people -- from Pre-K through 12th grade -- from across the country to create cards using the heart image as a symbol for values like unity, loyalty and responsibility. In addition to the leadership role kids play in designing the cards, they will also take the lead in picking five winning card designs online in mid-December.

The final set of five kid-designed Valentine's Day cards will be made available for ordering as a boxed set in mid-January. Funds raised will be used to support Save the Children's innovative public-private partnership programs that are making a real difference in the lives of low-income kids across the nation.

The best way to get kids involved is for teachers to participate in an AFT lesson plan on childhood poverty that brings awareness about childhood poverty into the classrooms, with the art contest as the centerpiece activity.

The deadline for art is December 1st and details on participation are at The five winning artists will each receive a $500 savings bond and the artist whose card receives the most votes will have the opportunity to meet actress Julianne Moore in January and join her on a press tour about the project.

This generation of kids has already proven its ability and desire to serve others. Indeed, they are the most civic-minded generation in sixty years. This contest is a terrific way to engage them in perhaps one of the most important causes of all -- each other.