Youth Violence Essay Contest For Kids

The Upper Darby Police Department Wednesday night honored three township students, winners of an essay contest on ways to end violence in the community.

The three winners received cash prizes and special plaques from police Superintendent Mike Chitwood at the regular meeting of Upper Darby Township Council.

The first prize included tickets to a Phillies game and a limo ride to and from the game.

The three winners are as follows:


1st Place: Tajay McLeod, Beverly Hills Middle School.

2nd Place: Valeri Mertin, Drexel Hill Middle School.

3rd Place: Maite Guachichullca, Saint Laurence School.

Here are their essays:

By Tajay McLeod, Beverly Hills Middle School:

To end violence in my community I think high school students who were previously juvenile delinquents or students who just feel strongly about the youth of today and the path they are going down could come to the middle school twice a week and pick 30 students who have been suspended for fighting and have a class.

The class would show the students how to be entrepreneurs. The people who teach the class would take two students a week and have some fact-to-face time so the students wouldn't feel like the person was there because he/she had to be there but because he/she wanted to. Community leaders could come in and speak to the students but not the typical "Violence is not the answer" speech. The speech should be inspirational and have the students think about what they want to do with their lives.

The students could take a trip to a juvenile detention center to show them what could become of their lives if they don't get their act together and continue down the same path. Don't make them feel as we think that they are going to fail, but rather that we think they can do amazing things with their lives. Show them the faith that the world has in them. Let them know that we the youth of today will be the future of tomorrow. Show them the many things we can do with our lives. Let them know that every sing dream can be a reality with belief, perseverance, and hard work.

The class would also have to do a group project. The project would be to come up with a legitimate, legal business plan. The best business plan which would be chosen by a community leader would be put into action.

All proceeds will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. Besides helping the cause for diabetes it would give the students a good feeling about themselves. I picked that foundation because one in every 4,200 persons within the age group of

15-19 will develop type one diabetes. This is a serious problem and would give the kids some serious motivation about the project.

The typical idea of having parents talk to their kids at a young age about violence won't be very effective in this era. Parents do need to be in the lives of their children. Without guidance we will never know what to do. The class would welcome the students' parents to come in and listen to what the people are saying to their kids. Parents could also volunteer to help with the trip to the detention center and help the kids come up with good ideas. Parents are not being involved in their child's lives is the number one reason kids turn to the streets because they think that they don't have any support at home. This is how I would end violence in my community.

By Valeri Mertin, Drexel Hill Middle School:

As most of us know, there are an abundance of youth violence issues here in the Upper Darby community. There youth violence issues include horrible things such as fighting, bullying, cyber-bullying, physical abuse and emotional abuse. Issues such as these have caused an innumerable amount of problems in the Upper Darby community that could easily be avoided or resolved. Because of this, I have come up with a few solutions for this bullying issue that I hope will be able to cease the bullying and change our community for the better. In the following paragraphs, I will tell you about my ideas and how they will solve the youth violence issue here in Upper Darby.

My first solution is that our community could open a place where children and teenagers of all ages are welcome to come and hang out. At this place, activities for the children and teens could be provided.

Lessons, such as ways to be courteous, include everyone and settle arguments in a civil way could be taught there. These lessons could be taught in interesting and creative ways, such as writing and acting out short plays that teach the children to do the right thing when it comes to bullying issues. The children with the best plays could be rewarded, therefore, all of the children would be enthusiastic to write and learn about bullying. Also, while the children are learning about bullying, they are becoming better writers. This would be the perfect way to involve people in the community while putting an end to bullying.

Secondly, while growing up, children need to be taught that differences aren't something to make fun of or tease people about, but something to celebrate. I know that elementary schools in our community stress to teach their students this, but for some reason, it isn't getting through to all of them, or staying with them through middle school and high school. My idea would be to require more teamwork activities in schools.

Instead of having recess, the children could go outside for a little while, and work with everyone as a team to accomplish one goal together.

This would tech the children at a young age that including everyone and working together is the best way to get things done, even if the people you're working with aren't the same as you. I understand that some people may say that this isn't education and shouldn't be taught in school, but not all parents teach their children these things at home.

One thing that I have learned from my school teachers this year is that it doesn't matter what letter grade comes out on your report card at the end of the marking period because that letter doesn't represent the type of person you are. I think this is the most important thing I have learned in school this year, and yet it's not even something I'll be tested on. This is why including teamwork exercises in not only elementary, but all school curriculums would powerfully affect the way young people treat each other here in this community and help to end bullying.

Lastly, my closing resolution wasn't originally mine, but I believe that although putting it into action may be a lot of work, the outcome would greatly change our community for the better, therefore resulting in less youth violence. Now, if you have seen the 2004 movie "Mean Girls," which was written by a former Upper Darby High School attendee, Tina Fey, you'll know what I am talking about; if not, I'll do my best to explain it for you. It's a fact that this movie was based off of the way Upper Darby High School was when Tina Fey attended there, which shows the types of problems that occur in the Upper Darby High School and many other high schools, although these problems may not be obvious. In this movie, Tina Fey shows how caddy and disrespectful teenaged girls can be and the ways they bully their fellow classmates, as well as the wrong ways in which boys can act towards each other and the girls in their school. The movie also shows a solution to this problem. The solution is that they gather all of the girls in the high school together for a day in the gym. They start by doing mental exercises with the girls, allowing them to get to know each other better. The girls also take turns telling their fellow peers about their problems in life, and what makes them the type of person they are. With all of the girls talking about their problems, and learning more about each other, they begin to realize how bad it is to bully the people around you. After that they move on to physical exercises such as the trust exercise where you have to catch each other as they fall backwards off of a platform. In the end, these exercises bring the girls in the high school closer together while re-teaching them how to work together as a team; resulting in less bullying issues within that school. I believe that if we tried this out with both girls and boys in our middle schools and high schools, it would definitely put a stop to a lot of the bullying going on here in our community.

These are the ways in which I would choose to end youth violence here in the Upper Darby community. I really hope to see all of my ideas put into effect someday, resulting in a positive change. I can't do this alone though and it would require teamwork with adults in this community in order for these things to work effectively. If I was to see my ideas put into effect, a broad smile would definitely grow across my face in knowing that I made a difference in my community for the better.

By Maite Guachichullca, St. Laurence School:

You hear about it in the news, on the radio, everywhere else you go and it is a growing problem. It is called youth violence and it includes bullying, slapping, punching, weapon use, and rape. In the past twenty years both homicide and suicide in the adolescent age group have dramatically risen.

Youth violence is reinforced by what is seen on television, the internet, video games, music videos, movies, and what is heard in music.

This violence is a result of discontent, anger, depression, the breakdown if families, drug and alcohol dependency, having to live in the street, being unloved and unwanted by families, and obsession with Satanism and death.

On of the most popular explanations given for violence among teens has to do with family. Many believe that abuse, neglect, and other family problems are the cause for violence. Still, this yet has to be proven true because of those few kids who come from stable homes and end up hurting others.

Many places have been plagued by the wrath of violence including schools. Adolescents in Junior High and High Schools have been letting their frustrations loose with peers and teachers, gunning down numbers of people, hurting them and killing them. Gangs and fights have also been a part of violence in schools where other students are offended verbally physically.

Violence affects everyone and leaves its lasting impression behind.

Especially on the victims of the abusers which can suffer serious injury, significant emotional and social damage, or even death. In the society we live in today violence has become a big part of life. We can either learn to live with it or try to stop it from spreading.

The best preventions are the following: treat each other with courtesy and respect, do not tolerate any violence in your home or anywhere else, have parents communicating more with their children, have intervention at an early age for prevention, and helping those who are stuck in the grasp of violence to get out or away from it. Though these are good preventions most people do not follow them and that's why violence keeps slipping through the cracks and spreading to new places.

We need other solutions that can interest the public and maybe even help solve this dilemma once and for all. Solutions such as: community groups, after-school activities, workshops in anger management and conflict resolutions, lastly learning about the tragedies that violence has on the community and letting others know about it.

I believe that youth violence destroys life and happiness around the world. It causes many to suffer the consequences and to seek revenge.

Yet we can still fight the battle against it and try our best to win.

With persistence, determination, the right preventions and actions we can conquer violence once and for all. It is just a matter of faith in helping others and always doing what is right. That is my opinion on youth violence and how I would end it in my community.

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Thank you to Buckets Blakes of the Harlem Globetrotters for the heartfelt op-ed published on The Hill.

Read the full article here.

Help Stop the Violence!

All across America, students are rising to the challenge of doing something to end youth violence. The Do the Write Thing 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 this problem.

By emphasizing personal responsibility, the DtWT program 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 messengers for their own thoughts and ideas, which are ultimately more powerful than violence. We say to students, “Accept the Do the Write Thing Challenge. Who knows where it will lead?”

To that end, DtWT 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 students who have participated in the program.

National Campaign to Stop Violence
2021 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036


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