AFOP Announces 2015 Farmworker Children Contest Winners

The 2015 winners for the annual Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Children Essay and Art Contests have been selected. The theme for this year’s contest was Planting Hope for our Future Blooms, and children from across the country composed essays and created pictures expressing hopes and dreams for a bright future and describing the challenges they and their families face fields.

Children ranging in ages from 10-18, submitted descriptive essays or powerful works of art describing their lives and goals. The first, second, and third place entries for each category will appear AFOP’s January issue of the Washington Newsline. The essays and artwork will also be featured on AFOP’s website. First-prize winners were invited to present winning entries at AFOP’s 2015 National Conference, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Additionally, each winner receives a cash prize to be used for school-related needs.

Winning Essayist

Ages 10-13:

1st Prize – Paola Caballero, 12, Bakersfield, CA
2nd Prize – Theya Ramirez, 13, Bakersfield, CA
3rd Prize – Stephany Ailyn Carrillo, 13, Bakersfield, CA

Ages 14-18:

1st Prize – Alondra Soto, 18, Stockton, CA
2nd Prize – Mana de Jesus Gonzalez, 18, Lake Placid, FL
3rd Prize – Javier Soto-Gonzalez, 17, Bakersfield, CA

Winning Artist

Ages 10-13:

1st Prize – Yesenia Cortez Garcia, 11, Bakersfield, CA
2nd Prize – Azucena Simon, 10, Bakersfield, CA
3rd Prize – Ariadana Santillan, 12, Arvin, CA

Ages 14-18:

1st Prize – Jaqueline Vargas, 15, San Luis, AZ
2nd Prize – Javier Soto-Gonzalez, 17, Bakersfield, CA
3rd Prize – Norman Gonzalez Carmona, 14, Bakersfield, CA

Children as young as 12 are legally allowed to work for an unlimited amount of hours outside of school in our nation’s fields and orchards. Despite agriculture being consistently ranked the most dangerous occupation in America for children, as many as 500,000 children work to harvest the fruits and vegetables that end up on our tables. Burdened with an overload of school and work responsibilities, health injuries related to pesticide exposure, musculoskeletal problems, and the prevalence of accidents with machinery, their future often looks a lot like their present. AFOP gives these children a chance to have their voices heard in their annual Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Children Essay and Art Contests.

The Children in the Fields Campaign is a project of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), a national federation of non-profit and public agencies that provide job training and services for America’s farmworkers. The campaign strives to improve the quality of life of migrant and seasonal farmworker children by advocating for enhanced educational opportunities and the elimination of discriminatory federal child labor laws in agriculture. For additional comment or interview from an AFOP expert, please contact Amber James at (202) 828-6006 or