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How Do The Write Thing Works

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.


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