Internet Culture

Selena Gomez to help judge annual Doodle for Google contest

This year's theme -- "I care for myself by…" asks schoolkids to share how they look after their physical and mental health in the face of today's challenges.

Google

Singer and actress Selena Gomez will be among the celebrity judges helping to decide the winners of this year's Doodle for Google contest, which invites schoolkids from kindergarten through the 12th grade to design their own variation of the company's famous logo.

This year's theme -- "I care for myself by…" -- asks students to share how they take care of their minds, bodies and spirits as they face the opportunities and challenges every new day brings. Students can use any material or medium, as long as it can be photographed or displayed in a two-dimensional format. They're also asked to write about how they created the Doodle and how it represents their inner strength.

Discussing mental health issues is one of Gomez's passions. In 2019, she founded the Rare Impact Fund, pledging to raise $100 million for mental health services for individuals in underserved communities.

"As a longtime advocate for mental health awareness, the concept that self-care is becoming a part of our everyday conversation makes me hopeful for the future," she said in a statement through Google.

The contest's winning submission will be featured on Google's home page for a day, one of the many Google Doodles that the company regularly uses to liven up the bare-bones company logo that usually occupies its search engine page.

Along with the exposure, the winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology award for his or her school. The contest runs now through March 4 and is open to all K-12 students based in the US, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Joining Gomez on the guest judging panel will be filmmaker and mental health advocate Elyse Fox, She is the creator of the Sad Girls Club, a nonprofit committed to destigmatizing mental wellness.

Fox said she loves the theme of this year's contest "because sometimes people may think caring for yourself is selfish, but on the contrary it's necessary for us to prioritize to be the best versions of who we want to be."

Rounding out the panel is Juliana Urtubey, a special education co-teacher in Las Vegas and the 2021 National Teacher of the Year advocates for joyous education for all, with community-oriented well-being being a central focus.

"I teach my students how to acknowledge and regulate their emotions and since their relationships and interactions with family, friends and community members can have a major impact on their health and well-being, we always talk about our emotions with a community context," she said.