TOPEKA – (May 25, 2021) – A fifth-grade student from Dodge City has won the 2021 National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and KBI Director Kirk Thompson announced today.
Heidy Perez Veleta, a student at Sunnyside Elementary in Dodge City, was chosen the national winner by the U.S. Department of Justice. She was previously announced as the Kansas state winner, which qualified her for the national competition. Her entry was among 800 this year from 27 states. The annual poster contest is held in recognition of National Missing Children’s Day observed annually on May 25 since it was first designated by President Ronald Reagan.
Students all across the country enter artwork representing the theme, “Bringing Our Missing Children Home.” The poster contest provides an opportunity for schools, law enforcement and child advocates to discuss the issue of missing and/or exploited children with youth, parents and guardians and to promote child safety. It also brings attention to the united goal of bringing missing children home safely.
“Communication is key to ensuring our children have the tools they need to stay safe,” Schmidt said. “It’s important for parents to put a safety plan in place and regularly take time to review it with your kids. National Missing Children’s Day is a good reminder to have those important conversations, and I encourage all Kansans to do so.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) maintains a list of children missing from Kansas. That database can be accessed at www.missingkids.org. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of any of these missing persons should contact a law enforcement agency or call 1-800-KS-CRIME. Information about missing children also can be reported to NCMEC at 1 (800) THE-LOST (800-843-5678). The NCMEC list currently includes the names, photographs and other information about the 76 children missing from Kansas. Schmidt represents the National Association of Attorneys General as a member of NCMEC’s Law Enforcement Advisory Council.
Schmidt also reminded parents of the importance of keeping identifying information on children up-to-date in the event a child does become missing. Having an identity kit with the child’s fingerprints, height, weight, and a current photo can make it easier to quickly locate a missing child.
To access the list of the 76 missing children from Kansas, go to www.missingkids.org/search. In the search box choose “Missing From,” select Kansas, then submit.
A photo of Perez Velta can be found at https://bit.ly/3ndUdXQ. Her winning artwork can be found at https://bit.ly/32HgGmF.