Smiling child


Emotions into Art: Wisconsin’s Children and Youth Show Us Why Their Feelings Matter

Using bright colors, meaningful words and intentional depictions, over 200 children and youth in Wisconsin illustrated their thoughts on why “My Feelings Matter” to raise awareness about children’s mental health. The public voted for the top posters and fifteen children and youth Pre-K through 12th grade from throughout Wisconsin have been recognized for their art. The children were presented with their awards on Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on Thursday, May 9 at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison.

Secretary Kitty Rhoades from the Department of Health Services and State Assistant Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor from the Department of Public Instruction recognized the award winners and spoke about the importance of awareness of children’s mental health.  In addition, local youth groups, including African Drumming by O’Keeffe Middle School students, Spoken Word by Whitehorse Middle students and Girl Power dancers from Vera Court Neighborhood Center, performed for the event.

“I cannot think of a better and more powerful manner in which to promote children’s mental health than by involving children in the process,” says Scott Strong, Executive Director of Community Partnerships. “From the creation of the posters to the performances at the Overture Center for the Arts, our children help us to recognize why children’s mental health matters!”

Today’s event was intended to help all Wisconsin residents understand that widespread support and dedicated resources towards cultivating mental health starting at birth and continuing into adulthood is essential in creating strong individual and community outcomes. A strong foundation early on increases the likelihood of positive mental health outcomes for life. The human brain and its architecture develop through a rapid process starting before birth and continuing into adulthood. This means that early experiences and relationships literally shape how the brain is built. Accessible, quality services and supports for children, adolescents and their families create the best outcomes for all of Wisconsin.

“Our children are our most important resource and our actions can have a huge impact on the lives of the next generation of adults,” says Assistant Superintendent Taylor. “Supporting children’s mental health is an investment in our future.”

A statewide tour of the award winning “My Feelings Matter” posters will start with an exhibit in the US Bank Plaza on the Capitol Square during the month of May. Featured posters are the artistic work of:

Pre-K                                                                           Third Grade – Fifth Grade

Cana Raymond, Green Bay                                         Bobby Rinehart-Spatola, McFarland

Miley Kadrlik, Hurley                                                    Courtney Duren, Kewaskum

Olivia DiGiorgio, Hurley                                               Trinity Raymond, Green Bay


Kindergarten-Second Grade                                     Sixth Grade-Eighth Grade

Dryden Luther, Pittsville                                               Anja Raymond, Green Bay

Taylor Checker, Madison                                              Amber Lambright, Whitehall

Tanya Cruz, Milwaukee                                                Gwendolynne Looper, Madison


High School

Kendra Greenheck, LaCrosse

Kody Lafreniere, Racine

Marisela Romera, Racine


The 2013 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Celebration is sponsored by Barnes and Noble, Culver’s, Ian’s Pizza, Mental Health America of Wisconsin, Overture Center for the Arts and UW Health & Unity Health Insurance.

The Children’s Mental Health Coalition is a group of state and local organizations who are working together to promote the mental health of children of all ages in Wisconsin. Organizations include: Community Partnerships, Disability Rights Wisconsin, Mental Health America of Wisconsin, Supporting Families Together Association,

Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health, and Wisconsin Family Ties.

The coalition has developed the Wisconsin Knows: Children’s Mental Health Matters toolkit, so that communities have the resources and tools to raise awareness and launch campaigns for children’s mental health. To find out more about this group’s work and access the toolkit, please visit: