Each year, over 120,000 students nationwide participate in the “Do the Write Thing Challenge” (DtWT), with over 50,000 submitted writings on how to reduce violence in their communities. Fifty national finalists, joined by their teachers and parents travel to Washington, D.C. each July to meet personally with their respective Members of Congress on Capitol Hill and had their book of writings presented and published in the Library of Congress.
This program relies on the voluntary efforts of school principals, teachers, and others, as students in participating schools are given the opportunity to participate in a writing activity during either their health or social studies class (ideally as a part of the curriculum plan).
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 youth violence affected my life?
What are the causes of youth violence?
What can I do to reduce youth violence?
Students' writings are reviewed by a panel of local volunteers. The panel selects as “school finalists” the boy and girl from each school who submit the most responsive entry. Thereafter, REACH Board Members and other local “celebrity” readers then review the writings of the finalists, and selects as “national finalists” the boy and girl school finalists who have submitted the most meaningful entries from each NYC participating Borough..
Once the school finalists and national finalists have been selected, REACH works with its local DtWT committee to publish a book containing the writings of these students and organizes a recognition ceremony to honor all of the student finalists and their parents, teachers and principals. The committee also encourages the formation of groups that work with NY 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.
REACH Board of Directors Member Daniel Callister, Esq., is the national Chair and Found of the "Do the Write Thing" Challenge program.
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