Last year, it was a lonely porcupine and a parade that taught children a lesson on fitting in, despite perceived differences. The year before, it was an island full of dragons and a big storm that touted a message of putting disagreements aside to help those in trouble. If the past is prologue, we will be inspired by the entries for the 2014 B’nai B’rith International Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge.
For the third year, the Challenge will give Washington, D.C., metro area high school students a chance to write and illustrate original books aimed at helping grade school children celebrate tolerance and diversity. The winning author will earn a $5,000 college scholarship and have his or her book professionally published and donated to local schools and libraries. The book will also be published in an e-book format and available on iTunes for free download.
The winner will be announced, and the book unveiled, at an award ceremony in the spring.
This education and awareness initiative was created as part of B’nai B’rith programming that promotes tolerance and communicates a message of equality among all citizens. Funded by Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI), the contest aims to enlighten, inspire and educate America's young people and their families in an effort to abolish prejudices and strengthen ties among today’s youth.
“The Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge helps teach children to respect and appreciate the differences in others and how to solve problems constructively,” said Joseph M. Rigby, PHI chief executive officer, president and chairman.
The second-place winner will receive a $2,000 scholarship, and the third-place winner will earn a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, the teacher who oversaw the winning entry and the school of the first-place winning student will each receive a $500 grant.
Students are eligible to participate if they are enrolled in grades nine through 12 in public schools in the District of Columbia or Montgomery County and Prince George's County in Maryland; or enrolled in private, charter or independent schools in the District and those counties. The deadline for contest submissions is March 7, 2014.
Over the last seven years, B’nai B’rith has published 20 original children’s books and awarded more than $165,000 in college scholarships and grants. Thousands of these published books have also been donated to public schools, libraries and Boys & Girls Clubs around the country.
A diverse panel of judges from the worlds of education, the arts, business and government, along with B’nai B’rith International leaders, will review the submissions and select the winners. Previous judging panel members have included Pepco’s Rigby, author Judy Blume, former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Sybille Jagusch, chief of the Children’s Literature Center at the Library of Congress.
B’nai B’rith is pleased to work in partnership again with Pepco for the D.C. area Challenge. We are also excited to announce our expanded partnership with Pepco Holdings Inc. to work with Atlantic City Electric and Delmarva Power and hold contests for students in southern New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula.