Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) essay contest

Association for Trauma Outreach & Prevention (ATOP)

The Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention (ATOP) Meaningfulworld, and YEP was founded by Dr. Ani Kalayjian to advance the knowledge about the immediate and long-term human consequences of traumatic events and promotes effective methods of prevention, relief and restoration to those traumatized and to those treating traumatized populations. Bullying has devastated millions of children around the world, and more specifically in NYC.

“Creating Inner Peace: Transforming Bullying”

$40 Grade School Winner, $50 for Junior High Winner
$75 High School Winner, $150 College Student Winner

The early years of a child’s life are crucial for healthy cognitive, social and emotional development. Incorporating a “bully free” message in the classroom by encouraging acceptance, kindness, empathy, and love is essential in that development. In schools where there are bullying programs bullying is reduced by 50%.

Bullying has become an epidemic in our nation’s schools and streets. Many children are robbed of the opportunity to learn because they are bullied and victimized daily. It is a problem in virtually all schools. Bullying causes a lasting trauma and the scars can last not only a lifetime, but it transmits generationally.

One third of teens reported being bullied while at school. About 60% of middle school students say that they have been bullied. An estimated 13 million children aged 6 to 17 were victims of cyber bullying and 8 percent of those affected by cyber bullying try to commit suicide. According to the NEA, it is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. A bully is 6 times more likely to be incarcerated by the age of 24.

Giving students a voice is the number one factor that influences a change in culture, climate and academic performance. Teaching them Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is essential for their health. Writing exercises on the subject of bullying makes children part of the healing process, empowers them and creates sustainable change in their lives.

Eligibility and Submission Criteria:
1. Students must be enrolled in school system and must be residents of New York, New Jersey or Connecticut;
2. Essays/poems, raps or skid must be original and unpublished;
3. Essays must include own experiences, feelings, and recommendations for healthy and peaceful solutions;
4. Essays must be in English, typewritten, double-spaced, and 500-750 words in length; no guidelines for poems,
skids or rap;
5. No more than one entry per year, and per family;
6. All entries become the property of ATOP/YEP and will not be returned;
7. ATOP/YEP reserves the right to make no award(s) in a given year if, in the opinion of its three judges, the submissions do not meet its criteria.

All entries must be postmarked by 15 Aug, 2015. The winners will receive personal notifications & awards will be given at the ATOP Annual UN International Day of Peace 21 Sept, 2015.

Please include cover letter indicating name, address, age, year of study, e-mail & personal contact, name of school/college attending, college major field of study, and career objectives and e-mail to:
E-mail:; website:, questions? Phone: 201 941-2266

Good intentions are no longer enough. I wanted to support humanity in my own way. Meaningful World was a natural way for me to help the victims of tsunami.

So many systems have failed us and as we transition from failed models, attitudes and behaviors that are polarizing, destructive and failing all around us I could not just sit back, be overwhelmed and do nothing… I am doing something with Meaningful World.

Meaningful World cultivates well-being, relatedness, a deep awareness and understanding how to elevate some of the world's suffering. Our choices impact all living systems and I choose to be an agent of good.