LIMA — “Do The Write Thing” is a national program giving middle school students an outlet to communicate how violence impacts their daily lives. While identifying forms of violence in their lives, students are asked to share their ideas on how to reduce violence in their community. On Wednesday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost was at Lima Senior to honor 10 writers from Lima middle schools and hear their stories.
“We don’t really understand what these kids are going through,” Yost said. “The importance of this project is by reflecting and thinking about not only what is, but what ought to be, what the world should look like and how they’re being affected. They are starting to process that this isn’t the way it has to be. ‘I can change this; I can live differently.’”
This program is beneficial on many levels. Students can develop empathy and understanding for victims of violence in their neighborhood, school and home. Teachers can grasp an understanding of events that affect students’ lives and culture. Leaders in the community can reach across the generation gap to realize the effect violence has on today’s youth.
From the first sentences of these student-created works spoke, the familiarity these young people had with violence was clear to see:
• “Violence is very common and everywhere nowadays/ The type of behavior that causes such cruelty gets away with too much praise.” — Jay Hankins
• “My acquaintance/ Violence and I/ Are well acquainted.” — A’Najiah Harris
• “I think we all probably know what youth violence is or maybe we have experienced it at some point in our lives.” — MaKylee Lott
• “Youth violence has been a problem in the United States for some time.” — Tra’ven Millrans
• “Growing up I never really liked people outside of my family and the violence I’ve seen or been in honestly just made me feel like people, especially kids couldn’t be helped without violence.” — Jahnathon Myers
• “Youth violence is everywhere.” — Terrance Robertson
• “I am a 13-year-old middle school girl that has been through so much in my life and I can finally express myself and tell my story.” — Jada Smith
• “Did you know that 18 percent of youth report self-harming at least once?” — Alessandra Vanmeter
• “Violence has taken a toll on my life from a very young age.” — Mya Whiting
A total of 535 essays were submitted by seventh and eighth-grade students in Lima schools. The 10 finalists were then selected by Lima community and business leaders.
Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409.