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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Writing Program for 7th and 8th graders

Program Mission:
The Do the Write Thing Stop Youth Violence Program has been a part of the Chicago Public Schools as well as the Catholic Archdiocese schools for the past 10 years. The program focus is to encourage students to take personal responsibility in the reduction of youth violence and currently engages over 150,000 students and teachers across the United States.

Succinctly, Do the Write Thing is a writing program for 7th and 8th graders which engages students in a teacher led writing lesson in which students take a personal stand to stop youth violence. Students are motivated to write about how violence has affected my life, the causes of youth violence and lastly, what can I do to stop youth violence.

How the Program Works
Students can write an essay, poem or play which their teachers submit to us, the local Do the Write Thing Program chairs (Latham & Watkins). Please note, that the deadline for the submission of student writings is due 5:00 P.M. on Friday, March 6, 2009. Please, designate one person in your office to be the contact person for your school.

Summit essays to:

Joyce Simon
Latham & Watkins
233 South Wacker Drive
Sears Tower, Suite 5800
Chicago, IL 60606

The program is structured whereby the teacher determines how best to approach the writing initiative. As a local resource, we would be willing to work with teachers that request our support to provide them with articles or news about violence or help them find a speaker to come to their classroom. The submitted entries are then read by a group of 'readers' that we've organized from our office staff, the business community and our pro bono partners. Essays are selected based on content, originality and how well the students express their views (not grammar and spelling). The attached file contains ISAT focused lessons that teachers can use with the students. We understand it is 'crunch' time and felt the lesson plans on the topic of violence would fit into the teachers' priorities at this time.

From the large group of writers, readers will select a student ambassador from each school to attend a Chicago recognition ceremony in May.

Program Honors:
Local: A Chicago awards ceremony dinner will be held in early May to recognize all the student ambassadors, teachers, principals and parents. The writings of all the participants will also be published in a book and distributed to policy makers in Illinois. Finally, at the Chicago celebration two students will be named as national ambassadors and they will represent Chicago at the National Do the Write Thing Challenge Ceremony in Washington D.C..

National: In July 2009, the national student ambassadors, their teacher's and parents/guardian will be flown to Washington D.C. to take part in a week of activities and attend the National Do the Write Thing Recognition Ceremony. In the past, activities have included a reception at the Kuwait embassy, meetings with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Education and various members of Congress. In addition, a book of their writings will be placed in the Library of Congress. Importantly, the trip is funded through the National Do the Write Thing Challenge funds that are provided by the Kuwait government and there is no expense to the families or teachers.

I invite you to learn more about National Recognition Week at or

If you find this program of interest, we will messenger information packets to you. It is not too late to participate.

Feel free to call Marielee Macapagal with questions, 312/520-1816.

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