In the 17 years that the Do The Write Thing Challenge Program has been in Chicago, over 36,000 middle school students have accepted the challenge to do something to stop violence.

Step 1:

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 6th, 7th and 8th grade teachers. Below are the instruction packets for teachers and principals.

Step 2:

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:

  1. How has violence affected my life?
  2. What are the causes of youth violence?
  3. What can I do about youth violence?
Step 3:

All responses are reviewed for content by a panel of distinguished readers, the essays are unedited and, if an essay is selected as a finalist writing, it is reprinted exactly as it was submitted. Young people have something very valuable to say on the issue of violence and are searching for an outlet to express their ideas and emotions.

Mission Statement

Foster awareness of youth violence by providing a creative outlet in a classroom environment that engages 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students to effect change in their communities through the power of the written word.


The primary goal of the DtWT Challenge Program is to prompt participating students to think about their role in society and to realize that they have a responsibility and the power to change their environment.

The second goal of the DtWT Challenge Program is to use the words of the students to motivate adults to respond to the young people’s personal commitments to seek solutions to violence. It is the hope of the National Campaign to Stop Violence that the commitments written will encourage adults in Chicago to work with these young people to reduce youth violence.

The National Campaign to Stop Violence has created various programs based on the ideas of thousands of young people which can be implemented in any community which has sufficient interest. The Campaign seeks individuals and businesses who want to make a difference in young people’s lives. If you wish to help with your time or resources, please contact us locally at (312)876-7620 or the National Campaign to Stop Violence at (800) 256-0235.