Do the Write Thing Logo

What is the Do the Write Thing Challenge?

Do the Write Thing (DtWT) is a national writing program that gives middle school students the chance to speak out about how violence affects their lives and share their ideas about what must be done to stop it. This program allows the students to become community catalysts, as they examine the root causes and impact of youth violence. The Office of the Attorney General has sponsored the program since 2015. Annually, OAG selects two students to serve as Washington DC.’s National Ambassadors, based on their writing. The Ambassadors are honored at the DtWT National Recognition Week in Washington, DC, where they meet with other student ambassadors, senators, and congressmen for discussion on youth violence issues. A book of the writings of each city’s Ambassadors is inducted in United States Library of Congress.

Do the Write Thing Trio
DtWT Recognition Dinner

Students Write, We Listen.

The Office of the Attorney General is committed to listening to community members and collaborating with local leaders, and that includes our young people. Each year, students are rising to the challenge of doing something to end youth violence through powerful writings. 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.

"We as a community can stop youth violence by showing kids better things in life."

"Social media, rappers, family, and the community have poorly influenced this young generation."

"I feel unprotected when walking to school because you don't know what could happen."

"I know that [my Dad] wouldn't want me crying but I can't help it. He was one of my heroes that I will never forget."

 Below are guidelines and resources about the challenge.


Submission Guidelines

Who Can Enter Do the Write Thing?

Open to all middle school students, grades 6-8.

Entry Format

  • Written in English only.
  • Approximately 500-1,000 words (Works of poetry may be shorter)
  • Typed (preferred) or hand-written in black ink.
  • Submitted on 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
  • Single-sided pages.
  • Numbered pages.

Entry Content

  • Any form of written expression (e.g. essays, poems, plays, songs)
  • Entries must address the following questions:
    • How has violence affected my life?
    • What are the causes of youth violence?
    • What can I do to reduce youth violence?
  • Positive and non-derogatory language.
  • Fictional writings must be identified as such (Strong preference will be given to non-fiction writings).
  • Writings based upon plagiarism will not be considered.
  • Credit must be given to outside sources.

Entry Submission

  • Entries must be written by only one student.
  • "Cover Sheet" with signed consent statement (by student and a parent/guardian) must be included
    • See the attached Cover Sheet at the end of this packet.
    • Entries without a signed Cover Sheet will not be considered.
  • No personal contact information should appear on the body of the written entry.
  • Entries must be submitted in the form they are received.
  • Editing by someone other than the student is not permitted.

Review These Resources Prior to Submitting an Entry

Educator Packet (for School Administrators)

Principal Letter (for School Administrators)

Cover Sheet (for Students)

Where Do I Submit My Entry?

All submissions are due by Friday, April 12, 2024 at 11:59 PM. Click here to submit an entry.

For More Information

For more information, please contact Ty Knight at