Plenty of schoolkids volunteer, raking leaves for a senior citizen, boxing canned goods for a food shelf, making blankets for children in a homeless shelter. In fact, some schools now incorporate volunteer activities into their curriculum.

Those students are making a difference in their communities and now they have an opportunity to tell us about it.

The Greater Twin Cities United Way and the Star Tribune have teamed up to sponsor an essay contest to give children a chance to write about why every individual in our community is important and what we can do to help those in need.

Teachers, parents and community leaders are encouraged to invite children in grades three to five to participate. Essays for the "Every One Counts" 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: The essays should be no more than 100 words long and follow the United Way's "Every One Counts" theme.

Deadline: Essays must be received by Oct. 14.

To submit: E-mail essays to everyonecounts or mail them to Greater Twin Cities United Way, Every One Counts Essay Contest, 404 S. 8th St., Minneapolis, MN 55404.

Winners: The first-place winner will receive a $500 savings bond from U.S. Bank. 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 Nov. 5 Star Tribune.

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