DOJ selects Lakeland girl's drawing for national missing kids campaign

Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 05, 2017

A young Lakeland girl is about to turn heads nation-wide.

The Department of Justice selected Audrey Link’s drawing to be used in the campaign for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The poster will be on billboards around the country.

The poster features parents holding hands with an invisible child. The missing kid is then revealed in the shadow that Link says is in the parents’ memory.

“I want people to feel sad when they see it because when they’re sad they’ll want to help and when they help that’s good!” Link told ABC Action News.

Link attends Resurrection Catholic Church and School in Lakeland. The fifth graders at the school were asked to participate in the nationwide contest to either write an essay or draw a poster.

The DOJ picks a new winning poster each year.

“We are very proud of her,” said Cindy Stanford, Link’s teacher.

“We always try to tell our kids to put yourselves in other peoples’ shoes, and this was a wonderful way to really think about this topic, and how we could make a difference in other peoples lives,” she said.

On Tuesday, Link got called down to the principal’s office at school.

“I was like oh I’m going to be in trouble,” she said.

It was the Department of Justice on the line, informing her that she had won.

Her image will now grab peoples’ attention along highway across the country. She also gets a trip to the state and nation’s capital in May.

The news brought her mother to tears.

“The whole day it took just to process the fact that it was a national win,” said Andrea Link. “That her artwork stood out and moved enough people, and I can say when I first saw it, I was moved.