[Congressional Record Volume 144, Number 140 (Thursday, October 8, 1998)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1960]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                  DO THE WRITE THING CHALLENGE PROGRAM

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                            HON. FRANK RIGGS

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                       Wednesday, October 7, 1998

  Mr. RIGGS. Mr. Speaker, not long ago, I served as host for a 
reception in the Cannon Caucus Room to honor the finalists in the Do 
the Write Thing Challenge Program. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on 
Early Childhood, Youth and Families of the House Education and the 
Workforce Committee, I want to call this initiative to the attention of 
my colleagues.
  Do the Write is a project of the National Campaign to Stop Violence. 
Students in urban middle schools are encouraged to write about problems 
of violence and drug abuse in their communities. Through these 
writings, 7th and 8th graders are motivated to make a commitment to 
stay in school and do something about drug abuse and violence. They 
also increase adult awareness and involvement in programs to address 
these problems.
  At the beginning of each school year, school superintendents in 
targeted cities notify middle school principals about the Do the Write 
Thing Challenge Program. Students are then asked to write papers 
relating to three questions: ``How has youth violence and drug abuse 
affected my life?'' ``What are the causes of youth violence and drug 
abuse?'' ``What can I do about the youth violence and drug abuse that I 
see or experience?''
  A panel of volunteers reads student papers. They selected male and 
female finalists for each school. From among these students, the best 
entries from each city are named national finalists. There is a local 
recognition ceremony for the school finalists, and a series of 
recognition events in Washington, D.C. for the national finalists. 
Local committees also work with government, businesses, and community 
leaders to provide opportunities for the student participants such as 
job training internships, mentoring, and scholarships. These are 
designed to promote community service and build a new network of 
positive relationships for those who have accepted the Do the Write 
Thing challenge.
  The Do the Write Thing Challenge Program is presently operating in 
Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, 
Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. 
Nationwide, over 15,000 students have submitted writings as part of the 
program.
  Mr. Speaker, those who merit recognition are too numerous to mention, 
but I want to particularly thank Daniel Q. Callister, the founder and 
Chair of the National Campaign to Stop Violence for his leadership in 
the Do the Write Thing Challenge Program . I also thank Marion W. 
Mattingly who is working tirelessly to expand the Do the Write Thing 
Challenge Program to additional cities. The Council of Great City 
Schools, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the 
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Young 
Astronauts Counsel, and the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile 
Justice and Delinquency Prevention are all supporting the program. 
Finally, special commendation goes to the Kuwait-America Foundation, 
the primary sponsor of the Do the Write Thing Challenge Program.

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