Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost helped kick off the ‘Do the Write Thing’ challenge today in the Youngstown City School District. The national program asks middle-schoolers to explain how youth violence affects them and to share ideas about how to stop it.
“Y-Town is my town,” Yost said in a video shared with students. “I am so happy to welcome you to the Do the Write Thing program!”
Yost’s office launched the program in Ohio two years ago with Springfield City Schools. Since then, Do the Write Thing has expanded to four more school districts: Canton, Lima, Youngstown and Zanesville.
This is Youngstown’s first year participating in the program, which encourages students to put in their own words – maybe for the first time – a personal and sometimes-painful experience.
Do the Write Thing challenges students to express in a story, poem, song or other written form the violence they’ve faced, with an emphasis on exploring these key questions:
- How does violence affect your daily life?
- What are some of the causes of youth violence in your community?
- What can you as an individual do to reduce violence in your community?
Youngstown community members and business leaders will read submissions from seventh- and eighth-graders at Chaney Middle School, East Middle School and Rayen Early College Middle School and pick the top stories. The winning entries will be published in a booklet and shared statewide to bring greater attention to the problem of violence.
Youngstown Schools Superintendent Justin Jennings noted how individual story sharing can lead to big changes on a broader level.
“We are honored to be involved with Do the Write Thing and have our scholars share their experiences with words and vision for peace,” Jennings said. “Our scholars of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Their lived backgrounds will shape them and be integral to active participation in social change. Transformation does not happen overnight, but all it takes is for one voice to lead the charge.”
Do the Write Thing, organized by the National Campaign to Stop Youth Violence, was established in 1994. The program has reached millions of students nationwide.