National Campaign to Stop Violence
The mission of the National Campaign to Stop Violence (NCSV), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization, is to reduce violence and its impacts in the lives of youth.
The core aim of the NCSV is to help individual students make a lasting commitment to take responsibility for ending violence in their lives, homes and communities. To do this, NCSV brings together community, business and government leaders to make resources available at the community, school, classroom and individual level.
The primary initiative of the NCSV is the "Do the Write Thing Challenge" Program ("Challenge"). The "Challenge" gives middle school students an opportunity to examine the impact of violence on their lives in classroom discussions and in written form by communicating what they have seen to be the causes of youth violence as well as solutions to help decrease the violence in their communities. By encouraging students to make personal commitments to do something about the problem, the program ultimately seeks to empower them to reduce violence in their homes, schools and neighborhoods.
For many young people, the middle school years can be a period of instability and emotional confusion. Exposure to violence can leave some young people unable to to cope in their environment in a productive way. The "Challenge" helps young people in a variety of ways:
It gives youth the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts through writing, which can be cathartic and empowering for the participants.
It helps to "give voice" to these young people and lets them know that adults are listening and want to hear from them.
The program can be helpful in identifying kids who need to be connected to their community through services like mentoring and after school programs -- programs that can help them stay on a path to success.
The classroom discussions and writings help teachers form bonds with their students while establishing trusting relationships and opening up new lines of communication.
By emphasizing personal responsibility, the "Challenge" 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 ambassadors for their own thoughts and ideas, which are ultimately more powerful than violence.
Since its inception, it is estimated that:
Over one and a half million students have participated in the "Challenge." Over 600,000 of these students have accepted the "Challenge" by making a written personal commitment not to engage in violence and by preparing writings on the causes of and solutions for youth violence. In some cities, the program has expanded to involved associated internship and scholarship programs.
During the 2013 school year, an estimated 210,000 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students from more than 600 middle schools participated in NCSV-sponsored classroom discussions about youth violence.
More than 71,000 of these students chose to accept the "Challenge" by preparing writings on the causes of and solutions for youth violence by pledging not to engage in violent acts.
Over 2,000 "school ambassadors" were honored at local recognition ceremonies and had their writings published and distributed locally. Two "national ambassadors" from each participating jurisdiction were honored at a national recognition ceremony in Washington, DC in July of 2013.
During the National Recognition Week, "national ambassadors" have the opportunity to present their views on youth violence to such national leaders as the Secretary of Education, the Attorney General of the United States, the Secretary of the Interior and Members of Congress. The week culminates in a special evening event at which the students, their parents and educators are honored.