SUMMIT, NJ - Non-profit 'Don’t Hide it, Flaunt It!' (DHIFI) has launched a national 'Kids Flaunt Essay Contest', available to public and private school Fourth Grade classrooms, in collaboration with Scholastic. Inspired by the DHIFI theme, “The things that make me different make me, me,” the DHIFI 'Kids Flaunt Essay Contest' is aimed at empowering kids who feel different to share their personal stories while inviting their classmates to recognize what makes them unique. The program seeks to combat intolerance and build empathy among kids toward each other. 

Summit resident Meg Zucker, Founder and President of 'Don't hide It, Flaunt It', created the 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to advance acceptance, understanding, tolerance and mutual respect for a person's blatant or invisible difference. Based on her own family’s life experience impacted by a physical difference, Zucker creates programming for DHIFI with a goal to encourage people of all ages to flaunt their own differences and ultimately embrace and celebrate what makes us all unique.

The organization took flight as after the principal of Summit's Franklin Elementary School invited Zucker to speak to the faculty about how to treat kids who have physical or invisible differences. That led to a school-wide presentation and then took flight from there.   

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In describing the past success of the Kids Flaunt Contest, Zucker explains:“Over the years we have received thousands of essays from kids about their visible and/or invisible differences.” Our 'Kid Flaunters' are proud of their writings and share them with their classroom, family and friends.”

The contest provides teachers an opportunity to prompt important discussions with their students that they might otherwise not know how to introduce. The 2015 winner was a girl from California named Callia who wrote about her brother, Tim, who has autism. According to Callia, “Tim has taught me that you shouldn’t judge people because of first impressions and that caring about what other people think about you is good for nothing.” The 2016 winner was a boy, Rayyan, from Illinois who was being bullied because of his Muslim faith. By participating in the 'Kids Flaunt Essay Contest', students learn that being different is actually the very thing that unites us all.

To learn how to enter the contest and for complete rules, visit: scholastic.com/flauntit. Educators must submit entries on behalf of student entrants. One winner will be selected and four finalists will receive prizing, plus classroom books for each contest winner’s teacher. The deadline for the contest is November 3. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

To learn more about DHIFI, visit donthideitflauntit.com.