A Message for My Child | VideoKristin Clouston | 3/8/2013
Neto is all grown up now and is earning a master`s degree from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. He and his dad have also had success sharing a project they created for each other.
You can find Neto`s work hanging in galleries, but some of his most meaningful work is illustrated in a book written by his father.
"When everything is said and done everybody decides for him or herself how they will live their life. I love you, I accept you, and I hope with all my heart that you make the right decisions."
It`s been a decade and a half since Patrick Atkinson wrote these and other loving words of advice to his son Neto.
"I said, `read it` and he was probably 15 at the time, and he said, `thanks` and set it aside. But you could tell he was picking it up and reading it and I polished it a little more and it struck," Patrick said.
Other people liked it too and a Central American company published three million posters with these words to put up in schools and juvenile detention centers.
As an adult, Neto says he felt like he needed to study the message in depth.
"After a while I came up with the pictures in the book and it was a way for me to say I understand the message you sent to me and here are the pictures back," he said. "It made me understand him more, where he was coming from, it made me love him more."
About a year and a half ago they decided to make it into a book, and since then it`s won two national awards, and has gone international. Now in its seventh printing, you can find it in 12 languages.
Neto is studying art therapy and says now it`s his turn to help other people heal and follow their dreams.
You can take a look at the book and meet Neto on Saturday. He`s going to be signing books from 10:00 until 2:00 at Barnes and Noble and from 2:00 until 4:00 at the Rainbow Shop. He`ll also have them at the Ramkota Saturday night at the God`s Child Dream Makers Ball. You can still get tickets to that and all proceeds from the book go to support the God`s Child Project.