Some things are just more fun to do with friends, and you can count volunteering as one of those things. Just think of it as "The Power of We."

That's the theme of the third annual student essay contest sponsored by Greater Twin Cities United Way and the Star Tribune. This year's contest asks students in grades three through five to think about how they can work together to make a difference, whether by improving their community, helping neighbors or working to stop homelessness and helping children learn to read.

Teachers, parents and community leaders are encouraged to invite students to participate in the contest. Essays for the "Power of We" contest should be concise and inspirational.

Prizes will be awarded to the top 10 winning essayists, and their stories will be published in the Star Tribune.


What: An essay contest for children in grades three through five. Submissions are welcome from families, community organizations and schools. (Teachers, please send only the top five per class.)

Theme: Essays should be no more than 100 words long and follow United Way's "The Power of We" theme.

Deadline: Essays must be received by Oct. 12.

To submit: Send essays by e-mail to or mail them to Essay Contest, 404 S. 8th St., Minneapolis, MN 55401. Essays should include the student's name, age, grade, address, phone number and e-mail address. Essays will not be considered without contact information; contact information will not be published.

Winners: The first-place winner will receive a $500 savings bond from U.S. Bancorp. The nine runners-up will each receive a $100 savings bond. All 10 winners will have their essays published in the Variety section of the Star Tribune on Nov. 10.

More info: Call the United Way at 612-340-7400.