Homeless In Canada Essay Contest

“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

There have been three major violent attacks in the United States in the past six weeks. A shooter in Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured 546 others attending a music festival. In another attack, in New York City, a man murdered eight people and injured 12 using a rented truck from Home Depot to plow into them. Last Sunday, a man killed 26 and injured 20 people attending Sunday services at a church in a small town in Texas. As humans sharing the world, it is hard to believe how commonplace violence is, whether in the form of a “lone shooter” or as an “act of terrorism.” Instead of feeling the shock and horror we should, we have almost become numb in reaction to these outrageous and revolting events.

As a 17-year-old, I have never known a time in America where there wasn’t violence. I was just 1 year old when the 9/11 attacks happened. I have lived through many acts of violence, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012. That same year, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African- American from Florida, was fatally shot, ironically, by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Whether it’s a mass attack, mass shooting or the killing of one person, the action is violence and the result is the same—death. And we are left asking ourselves, “Why?” What can we do about it?

As teens, we don’t have to feel powerless. There are things we can do. One thing we can do is to raise awareness about religion and racism. Interfaith programs at our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples can help promote goodwill and understanding through diversity. By seeing that we share faith in a higher power and working together for the greater good, we promote understanding. Programs like Harvard University’s The Pluralism Project runs the Interfaith Youth Leadership Coalition in the St. Paul, Minn., area, where “teens work together to nurture interfaith understanding, reduce prejudice and misunderstanding, and act together on common values through service and justice to transform their worlds. In the process, these young people are empowered to be capable interfaith leaders, both within their own communities and beyond.” This program includes many community-based events like a gardening service as well as leadership workshops for the teens. Having more programs like this one, throughout the United States and the world, will help cultivate more understanding leadership and promote greater understanding among different religions.

Teens can also raise awareness of gun violence. Events such as Seattle, Washington’s “Teens Against Guns Youth Summit,” hosted by the Atlantic Street Center, are a way to bring teens together to actively support the anti-gun movement at a grassroots level. Programs like these can help empower teens to help them realize they can be proactive in ending the cycle of violence.

Another way teens can use their voice to denounce violence and terror is through social media. When she was challenged by another student to prove there were Muslims who condemned violence in the name of Islam, Heraa Hashmi, a 19-year-old college student at the University of Colorado Boulder, decided to make a list of all the Muslim groups that did. According to a November 2016 Teen Vogue article, “ The result was Worldwide Muslims Condemn List — a spreadsheet with 5,720 instances of Muslim groups and leaders denouncing various acts of terrorism.” Her Twitter account generated 12,000 re-tweets and the list has been made into an interactive website called www.muslimscondemn.com. Her idea led to a resource for anyone to access the information.

Whether coming together in an interfaith group, rallying at an anti-gun youth summit or using social media to create awareness against violence, teens have a voice. Gun violence and terror attacks need to end in my generation. Maybe Mr. Rogers (Fred Rogers), said it best: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ” We, as teens, need to be those helpers.

Official Rules

The A Voice for Animals contest is now open. The competition has sections for 14-15 year old students and sections for 16-18 year old students.

The contest is also open to ESL (English as a Second Language) students.

 

Eligibility

 

Participants must currently be attending middle or high school, or be home-schooled, and less than 19 years of age on January 22, 2018 (the date the contest opened for entries). No exceptions!

The contest is open to all otherwise eligible students worldwide regardless of nationality, citizenship, or country of residence.

You are strongly advised to read all the rules!

 

Fourteen and Fifteen Year Old Essay Submissions

This year we have two sections for this category.

Entrants in the 14-15 year old section are invited to either write an essay that addresses one of the following: the mistreatment of one animal species or one cause of animal suffering and present ideas to raise awareness of this species and what can be done to protect it. Or write an essay that addresses the impact of climate change on the animal population and discusses how one animal species has been affected by climate change and presents ideas to raise awareness of this species and what can be done to protect it.

                                        OR TO WRITE AN

Endangered Species Essay

 

For the 2018 contest, there is a special prize that will be awarded in the 14-15 year old section for essays that address endangered species!

In addition to the monetary prize, the top three essay submissions from 14- to 15-year-olds addressing endangered species will receive a signed, personalized copy ofEndling No. 1: The Last,by Katherine Applegate (author of the Animorphs series and The One and Only Ivan). Honorable mention recipients will receive a signed copy.

The Earth is now in the midst of its sixth major animal extinction. The last mass extinction—approximately 65 million years ago—caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs. Although extinctions are naturally occurring, the current mass extinction is unique in that it is caused almost entirely by humans. A 2010 study of species concluded that at least one-fifth of the world's mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish are threatened with extinction due to human activity.

Submissions in this category should examine the threats to one endangered species, occurring anywhere in the world, and present ideas to raise awareness of this species and what can be done to protect it. 

 Your submission must:

·     be the original work of the author or authors;

·     show clearly which animal issue you chose to address and why;

·     any sources you choose to quote in your essay must be cited accurately.

Submission format

All submissions must be made using the form which will appear below only while the contest is open for entries. Please note: essays submitted any other way (e.g. via e-mail or the postal service) will not be accepted.

Essay files will be uploaded directly to our website via the entry form. Other forms of submission will require that you provide a URL to your submission because it will be on another website. The entry form will explain how to obtain, copy, and paste the required URL into the entry form.

 

1.Your essay must be no less than 1400 words and no more than 1500 words excluding citations, page headers and footers (if used). Longer essays will be disqualified.

2.Your essay must be written in English.

3.Any citations, if included, must appear at the end of the essay.

4.You must include your name and essay title at the top of each page. Do not include any contact information (e.g. e-mail address or telephone number) in your essay.

5.All pages of an essay must be numbered.

6.All pages of an essay must be double-spaced.

7.We will only accept essays in the following electronic formats:

o  Microsoft Works (".wps")

o  Microsoft Word (".doc", ".docx")

o  Microsoft XML Paper Specification (".xps")

o  OpenDocument Text (".odt")

o  Portable Document Format (".pdf")

o  Rich Text Format (".rtf")

o  Plain text (".txt")

8.The size of your file must be less than 2Mb.

 

Sixteen through Eighteen Year Old Essay Submissions

 

Entrants in the 16-18 year old essay section are invited to write an essay that addresses either the mistreatment of one animal species or one cause of animal suffering; or the preservation of one endangered species, occurring anywhere in the world, and potential solutions to alleviate animal suffering; or that addresses the impact of climate change on the animal population and discusses how oneanimal species has been affected by climate change and presents ideas to raise awareness of this species and what can be done to protect it.

Your submission must:

·     be the original work of the author or authors;

·     show clearly which animal issue you chose to address and why;

·     any sources you choose to quote in your essay must be cited accurately.

 

Submission format

All submissions must be made using the form which will appear below only while the contest is open for entries. Please note: essays submitted any other way (e.g. via e-mail or the postal service) will not be accepted.

Essay files will be uploaded directly to our website via the entry form. Other forms of submission will require that you provide a URL to your submission because it will be on another website. The entry form will explain how to obtain, copy, and paste the required URL into the entry form.

 

1.Your essay must be no less than 1400 words and no more than 1500 words excluding citations, page headers and footers (if used). Longer essays will be disqualified.

2.Your essay must be written in English.

3.Any citations, if included, must appear at the end of the essay.

4.You must include your name and essay title at the top of each page. Do not include any contact information (e.g. e-mail address or telephone number) in your essay.

5.All pages of an essay must be numbered.

6. All pages of an essay must be double-spaced.

7. We will only accept essays in the following electronic formats:

o  Microsoft Works (".wps")

o  Microsoft Word (".doc", ".docx")

o  Microsoft XML Paper Specification (".xps")

o  OpenDocument Text (".odt")

o  Portable Document Format (".pdf")

o  Rich Text Format (".rtf")

o  Plain text (".txt")

8.The size of your file must be less than 2Mb.

 

Sixteen through Eighteen Year Old Video or Essay with Photos Submissions

Entrants in the 16-18 year old Essay with Photos or Video section must become involved in a project (new or pre-existing) that addresses either the mistreatment of one animal species or one cause of animal suffering; or the preservation of one endangered species, occurring anywhere in the world; or that addresses the impact of climate change on the animal population and discusses how oneanimal species has been affected by climate change and presents ideas to raise awareness of this species and what can be done to protect it.

Students must submit either 1) an original video or a written essay with accompanying photos.

Projects should be worked on for at least two to three months and the project should have a direct impact on animals by means of either direct or indirect intervention. Your submission will document your project and your contribution to that project and, where possible, show how your project/involvement could alleviate animal suffering.

Your project could possibly be one of the following:

·     Form an organization to raise awareness about an animal issue and how to reduce suffering

·     Create a school group to raise awareness about an animal issue and how to reduce suffering

·     Participate actively in an organization that raises awareness about an animal issue and how to reduce suffering

·     Create or demonstrate a plausible alternative to a practice which causes animal suffering

·     Devise an activity of your own that will raise awareness about, or mitigate, animal suffering

If you choose to start a group, you will need to demonstrate how many people were in the group and that this group was active and made significant contributions in your chosen area. In all categories we will ask you to provide contact information for someone who will vouch for the originality and duration of your project.

If you wish to submit a joint project, a group of up to four students can contribute to the project. Only one member of the group should submit the entry form and the names of other group members must be included just one time on the project itself.

Your submission must:

·     be the original work of the author or authors;

·     show clearly which animal issue you chose to address and why;

·     show what you have done to help remedy this issue;

·     any sources you choose to quote in your presentation must be cited accurately. Citations substantiating your chosen project will be credited.

Submission format

All submissions must be made using the form which will appear below only while the contest is open for entries. Essays or videos submitted any other way (e.g. via e-mail or the postal service) will not be accepted.

Essay files will be uploaded directly to our website via the entry form. Other forms of submission will require that you provide a URL to your submission because it will be on another website. The entry form will explain how to obtain, copy, and paste the required URL into the entry form.

The requirements for each category of submission are specified below.

Video

1.Your video must be no longer than three minutes long.

2.We will accept video submissions uploaded only to YouTube (www.youtube.com) or Vimeo (www.vimeo.com).

3.Give your video a meaningful title.

4.Add a brief synopsis of the video as the description of the video.

5.You must include your name in the video, but do not include any contact information (e.g. e-mail address or telephone number) in either the video or its description.

Please note:

You must have explicit permission to use any footage, animation, music or photography you use (i.e. it must be original or archival stock).

Essay with Photographs

1.Your essay must be no less than 900 and no more than 1000 words excluding citations, page headers and footers (if used). Longer essays will be disqualified.

2.Your essay must be written in English.

3.Any citations, if included, must appear at the end of the essay.

4.You must include your name and essay title at the top of each page. Do not include any contact information (e.g. e-mail address or telephone number) in your essay.

5.All pages of an essay must be numbered.

6.All pages of an essay must be double-spaced.

7.We will only accept essays in the following electronic formats:

o  Microsoft Word (".doc", ".docx")

o  Microsoft Works (".wps")

o  Microsoft XML Paper Specification (".xps")

o  OpenDocument Text (".odt")

o  Portable Document Format (".pdf")

o  Rich Text Format (".rtf")

o  Plain text (".txt")

8.The size of your file must be less than 2Mb, including photographs

Judging

Judges' decisions are final. We reserve the right to adjust the number of prizes and the amounts of the prizes based on the entries received. Please read the Advice for Participants to see what the judges will be looking for.

Deadlines

Entry deadline:Monday, April 30th 2018 (11:59pm PDT)
Results announced:Monday, June 11th 2018

Advice for Participants

The judges offer the following advice based on entries from earlier contests:

  • Read the rules! Every year we disqualify a number of entries because they did not follow the rules.
  • The judges will be looking for:
    • Personal initiative (e.g., how big a role did you play in developing and driving this project or in your portion of the project)
    • Commitment and presentation
    • Clarity and power of the presentation; your presentation should inspire others to get involved
    • Original ideas in the topic, the presentation, or the suggested responses to the animal suffering.
  • If your entry is an essay the judges will look for:
    • effective opening and closing paragraphs. The essay needs to be well organized with paragraphs structured around the main parts or points. 
    • good structure with good word choice and fluid writing. Check spelling, grammar and punctuation. The essay must be free of blatant errors; all research that is done must be adequate for the topic and have quality references – references from Wikipedia do not carry much weight.
    • a readable font! Decorative or script fonts are hard to read for more than a sentence or two, and with the number of submissions we receive we do not spend time reading hard to read scripts.
  • If you submit a video the judges will look for:
    • What motivated you
    • How you hope to inspire others to bring about change
    • How you present your subject
    • Something visually interesting
  • The judges will give extra credit for:
    • Any research that is done into the cruelty or problem.
  • The judges will take an especially harsh view of plagiarism. Don't do it! Cite all your sources.
  • ESSENTIAL: Learn from previous winners! Look at their entries to see how they stand out. Look at our home page and the submissions of four previous winners.
  • Make sure the file or URL you submit is your actual entry! Each year we receive files which are clearly not the author's essay file. Due to the number of essays submitted we are unlikely to have time to contact you about your mistake.

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