Trying to get kids interested in writing can be difficult for parents and teachers, but contests are a great way to inspire them. Combining prizes with writing for an organization that supports causes they're interested in makes it even better. The Young Voices Foundation is a recognized 501(c)(3) educational charitable organization with tax-exempt status in the US that encourages young writers grades K through 12 through poetry and writing contests for cash prizes.
The contests are open to US students in grades K-12. There are three categories:
- Category 1: Grades 7-12
- Category 2: Grades 3-6
- Category 3: Grades K-2
There are annual contests in poetry and writing. Each contest has clear rules to follow—so be sure to go over them thoroughly before your child enters. According to the website, many good entries are disqualified by entrants overlooking simple rules.
Young Voices was founded by Bobbi Carducci, a book author and former newspaper senior staff writer. She's a self-taught writer who founded the organization to mentor and encourage young writers. Young Voices has a program called Write for a Cause. Charitable organizations, the Boy and Girl Scouts, and civic groups can have an anthology of stories or poems by members published by the Foundation to keep or use as a fundraiser.
Some examples of current and previous contest themes include:
- Speak of Heroes Among Us (a fiction or nonfiction short story about a hero among us)
- Emerging Writers
- Young Voices of America Speak Through Poetry
- Young Voices of America Exercise Their Creativity (this one is referred to as a major prize contest)
The current contest prizes range from $5 to $75. Major contest winners can win up to $500. Entries are accepted via email. While these cash prizes aren't the big wins found in many sweepstakes, winning one of these contests may go a long way to giving young writers a sense of accomplishment and continue to improve their writing skills. One previous Young Voices winner has even co-authored a book on woodcarving. Check out the Foundation's website
for information on the most current contests and rules for entering.