2014 Mural Contest Third-Place Winner: From Overcast Skies to Sunshine

Drawing of a leafless tree under clouds transforming into a leafy tree in the sun.

Congratulations to Rumford Group Homes, in Rumford, ME, whose youth artists took third place in the 2014 Family & Youth Services Bureau Mural Contest for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs.

For the fourth year, runaway and homeless youth programs funded by FYSB were given the chance to win the materials to paint a mural in their facilities. A jury of FYSB staff and formerly homeless young people picked the winner and two finalists.

Rumford Group Homes' artwork and essay are shared below. The essay has been edited to preserve confidentilaity. You can see all the artwork entries in our 2014 Mural Contest slideshow.

Homelessness! Helplessness! Nothing! These are some of the feelings we had when we were at our lowest. There was not always sunshine shining down on us, but for us, now there is! The maternity group home program at Rumford Group Homes is a place for homeless pregnant and parenting people like us that provides a safe and stable place to live, stability and routine, emotional support, parenting classes, as well as many other groups to learn skills we need to know about in order to grow, bloom and blossom.

We are working hard every day to beat the odds. We reached out and used the resources provided for us. We knew without taking the steps and asking for help, the sun would still be behind the clouds. It is not always easy, and there are many obstacles in our way, but the people who work in the maternity group home program are always there to listen to us, to guide us, to motivate us, and to keep us headed in the right direction--even when we stumble. We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to do our best!    

The time we have spent in the maternity group home program has helped each and every one of us. The road may have just begun, but the sun has already starting to shine brightly!

During the creation of our mural, we all got the chance to work together as a team to create something beautiful. Our staff helped us brainstorm ideas of how we wanted to show what our journey has been like. We all contributed and picked the best ideas that everyone came up with.

When it came time for us to draw our sketch the next week, we all helped with the drawing even though some of us are better than others at drawing. We tried a few times, but came up with a design that we all liked and felt proud of. We wrote our narrative as a group also, and we each gave each other ideas and help editing each others' sections.

We are proud of what we accomplished and hope we get the chance to make our mural based off of our sketch so that others can see it and hopefully be inspired by what we have accomplished. Thank you!

View all the entries in this year's mural contest.

9-5 pm Eastern