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National Program Addresses Youth Violence

Local 6th, 7th and 8th graders invited to participate

Charlotte, N.C. – The Do the Write Thing Essay Challenge has officially kicked off in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, in partnership with Mecklenburg County Community Support Services Project Safe Neighborhoods and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The Do the Write Thing Essay 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 the problem. Essays are due Feb. 12, 2010.

CMS middle school students are encouraged to participate through any written form of expression, including essays, poems, plays and songs. Participating principals, teachers and students will be invited to attend an annual reception to congratulate the winners and their families. The local reception is scheduled for Apr. 26, 2010, at the Mint Museum on Randolph Road. One male and one female student winner will be eligible to travel for a week as Charlotte's Ambassador to the national Do The Write Thing Essay Challenge in Washington, D.C., later this year.

The local effort is spearheaded by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services Project Safe Neighborhoods, a federally funded program working to keep our communities safe by eliminating gun violence. Administered by the U.S. Attorney's office, Project Safe Neighborhoods' task force is made up of members of state and local law enforcement, community groups, educational institutions and Mecklenburg County.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department school resource officers have assisted in the distribution of participation forms, and they will assist in the grading of the submitted essays once again this year. If you would like to volunteer to read essays, please send your name and phone number to Ronnie.Devine@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov.

For more information on the Do The Write Thing Essay Challenge, visit www.charmeck.org/DTWT or call Ronnie Devine at (704) 336-8630.

For more information on the effects of gun violence in our community, call Community Support Services at (704) 432-SAFE (7233) or CSS Project Safe Neighborhoods at (704) 336-8630.


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