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Sacramento student wins national award for drawing about improving police, youth relations

Evelina Cheng, 12, entered the "Youth Voices" national contest knowing exactly what she wanted to draw.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A North Sacramento student won a national award for her drawing that depicts how to improve interactions between police and the youth.

Evelina Cheng, 12, heard about the "Youth Voices" national contest sponsored by Strategies for Youth, a non-profit that works with police across the nation. They were looking for a drawing with a message of how to improve interactions between police and teens. 

Cheng says she knew exactly what to draw.

“In [my] picture, it is female police officer saluting to a child with cancer. [Another] one is a police officer comforting a child that stole from a store. [Another] one talks about the differences between teens and adults,” explained Cheng.

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She says it’s all about listening to one another. Kids shouldn’t be afraid to talk to officers and police officers shouldn’t be afraid to listen.

Sacramento Police officer Kao Saechao is part of the youth outreach program. He says Cheng’s drawing shows what officers do every day.

“Everything she has on here is all about positivity and how to make things better,” said Saechao.

His partner, Sacramento Police officer Steve Lewis, says it was nice to brag about Cheng, and this encourages him to have more positive interactions with the youth and the community.

READ ALSO: Sacramento youth pop-ups keeping kids off the street

“This was such a great influence for her because she drew everything that it took to interact with an officer, and people have to realize we are human beings too. We have good days and bad days and we try to put on a smiling face. Normally, if you’re in need of a police officer, it’s usually something bad going on in your life,” Lewis said.

On Tuesday, the officers picked Cheng up from her grandparents’ home and drove her to school. They say they wanted to do something special for her and let her know they are listening.

Besides the ride, the seventh-grader from Norwood Junior High School also won a $500 prize. She and another student from Louisiana split first place and beat out over 120 students nationwide.

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