Thank you to Buckets Blakes of the Harlem Globetrotters for the heartfelt op-ed published on The Hill.Read the full article here.
Help Stop the Violence!
All across America, students are rising to the challenge of doing something to end youth violence. The Do the Write Thing Challenge gives middle school students an opportunity to examine the impact of youth violence on their lives. Through classroom discussions and writings, students communicate what they think should be done to reduce youth violence. In addition, they make personal commitments to do something about this problem.
By emphasizing personal responsibility, the DtWT program also educates adults about the causes of youth violence. Local community groups promote the program at the grassroots level so that teachers, school administrators, parents, coaches, and young people can bring youth violence into the open, where it can be examined and talked about in a constructive way. When students accept the Challenge, they become messengers for their own thoughts and ideas, which are ultimately more powerful than violence. We say to students, “Accept the Do the Write Thing Challenge. Who knows where it will lead?”
To that end, DtWT also encourages the formation of groups called Community Peace Partnerships that work with local government, business and community leaders to provide opportunities such as job training internships, mentoring and academic scholarships for students who have participated in the program.
National Campaign to Stop Violence
2021 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
At the beginning of each school year, the NCSV invites the superintendents from school systems in participating localities to select middle schools to participate in DtWT. The superintendents make the program’s guidelines available to their middle school principals, who in turn, make the guidelines available to appropriate seventh and eighth grade teachers. (Click here to view the instruction packet for teachers)
After a classroom discussion about the problem of youth violence, participating students are asked by their teachers to make a commitment not to be involved in violence and provide written answers to three questions:
How has violence affected my life?
What are the causes of youth violence?
What can I do to reduce youth violence?
The writings of the students are reviewed by a panel of volunteers recruited by the DtWT committee established for the participating locality. The panel of volunteers selects as “school ambassadors” the boy and girl from each school who submit the most responsive entry. A panel of local “celebrity” readers recruited by the local DtWT committee then reviews the writings of the ambassadors. This panel selects as “national ambassadors” the boy and girl school finalists who have submitted the most meaningful entries.
Once the school ambassadors and national ambassadors have been selected, the local DtWT committee publishes a book containing the writings of these students and organizes a recognition ceremony to honor all of the student ambassadors and their parents, teachers and principals. The committee also encourages the formation of groups called Community Peace Partnerships that work with local government, business and community leaders to provide opportunities such as job training internships, mentoring and academic scholarships for the students who have participated in the program.
NCSV publishes and places in the Library of Congress a book containing the writings of all the national finalists. In addition, NCSV organizes a national recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. to honor these students, their parents and teachers. During previous national recognition weeks, Challenge “national finalists” met with the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of the Interior, the Attorney General and Members of Congress to discuss their writings and feelings about youth violence.