How it works

The purpose of the Houston/Harris County Do the Write Thing Challenge is to create safer schools and communities by constructively influencing the lives of the young people and their families.

The Challenge is a multi-faceted youth anti-violence/anti-bullying and truancy prevention program focusing on, what science tells us, is the most vulnerable age group: 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. They are leaving childhood and entering adolescence, a period of bewildering physical, cognitive and emotional changes. It is an academic program implemented through public and private middle/junior high schools. The educator’s designed lesson plan, (updated each school year) meets TEKS objectives in Language Arts, Social Studies, Health, Physical Education and the STARR test; the comprehensive plan includes classroom discussions, research and composition. Many teachers use the program as a stand alone writing assignment for their classes.

Do the Write Thing, through classroom discussion and the writing of essays, teaches children how to deal with anger, slights, bullying and other conflicts in a constructive way, without resorting to violence. Also addressed are the subjects of resisting peer pressure, avoiding illicit drug usage and seeking help for family abuse, with an emphasis on personal responsibility. The Challenge is proactive, involving students, teachers, families, the community, civic groups, public officials and policy.

The program develops student empathy, problem solving, coping, social, leadership and academic skills necessary to resist anti-social behavior. The emphasis on personal responsibility establishes a healthy learning environment, creates a sense of self-worth and the incentive to improve their society. The Challenge has identified specific problems in specific locations. It is a resource and imaging mechanism providing information and a snapshot of the lives of middle school students; and has been the genesis of research projects and initiatives.