Student’s persuasive paper earns $300 for child victims
DENVER – Few sixth-graders have mastered the art of persuasion like Lincoln Charter Middle’s Ashton Willis.
Ashton wrote a persuasive letter to her classmates hoping to convince them to donate the proceeds from their recent penny war to the Lincoln County Child Advocacy Center.
Her teacher, Paula Micol, created the Persuasive Giving Prompt about five years ago, hoping to make persuasive writing a more interesting topic for students.
The students hold a penny war pitting classes in a race to collect loose change. Students then write a paper and the best earns the money for its organization.
The middle school students collected a about $300 in one week.
“Guest speakers come in to talk to the kids about their organizations,” Micol said. “The kids do their own research, ask their parents what kind of need we have in our community. Then they decide which organization to write about.”
The project requires students to learn about a cause, do detailed research, poll their neighbors or classmates, dig up statistics and interview someone with the organization they choose.
“Ashton was very passionate about writing for the child advocacy center, especially after hearing about some of the statistics,” Micol said.
And when the eighth-graders read through the students’ papers, they chose Ashton’s as the clear winner.
“Did you know that every 33 seconds a child is abused in the United States?” Ashton wrote. “And that one in four girls and one in six boys will be abused before they are eighteen? If we can raise awareness, fewer children will have to suffer.”
Sherry Reinhardt, executive director of the Lincoln County Child Advocacy Center, said she was impressed with Ashton’s research.
“She asked really great questions,” Reinhardt said. “She wanted to know our biggest need and our biggest obstacle. We are in constant need for supplies for the kids that come here. We go though an enormous amount of juice boxes and snacks, as well as sodas and water for parents.”
Ashton wrote that the advocacy center is often overlooked when people consider donations, sending money instead to organizations for diseases or animals.
“People will donate money to an animal organization when abuse can literally be happening next door,” Ashton wrote. “The Penny War money could be spent on something everyone knows about, or it could be spent on something worth the money. Which do you choose?”
Micol said the project teaches students about community needs and giving. The writing competition encourages them to care about their work and their chosen organization.
“They’re not choosing just based on what sounds cool,” she said. “They’re trying to actually determine which organization deserves the money and which paper is most persuasive.”
Want to know more?
Child Advocacy Center
Director: Sherry Reinhardt
Address: 161 Policarp Lane, Lincolnton