A number of billboards have been baffling West Michigan for two weeks with the anxious-looking designs and handwritten words like neglect, abuse, and fear. We've all been guessing what they mean, and, who put them up? Now we know! 

Earlier this week, a new design revealed the message comes from D.A. Blodgett–St. John’s, a local children advocate agency that offers services like adoption, counseling, foster care, mentoring and more. Grand Rapids creative agency Extra Credit Projects was the creative partner on the project.

Courtesy Clark Communications

From cynics to proponents, speculations of who was behind the boards ranged from megachurches to PETA, to the visual representation of “what it’s like to travel US-131 during rush hour.”

Area residents took to social media to seek answers or express opinions about the mystery messages. Some online users expressed discomfort at the content of the billboards, while others argued that the subject matter was important to address.

It’s that level of engagement that D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s was seeking to evoke in the weeks leading up to April’s “National Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

“There have been a lot of comments online that the billboards have made people uncomfortable,” said Katy Buck, public relations and marketing manager for D.A. Blodgett–St. John’s. Our goal was to evoke in viewers the same feelings that some children face every day—anger, fear, frustration, confusion, angst.

D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s provides more than 20 services, impacts 9,000 lives every year.

To learn more about D.A. Blodgett–St. John’s, visit www.dabsj.org.