Students publish perspectives on empathy and leadership

With support from Cartoon Network, the 826 Network has engaged hundreds of students across the country to write stories that promote kindness, compassion, and empathy as part of Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign.

The campaign features funny, fresh, and moving stories about compassion and empathy written by 826’s students in response to writing prompts like: “Describe a time when you thought differently.”; “Why is it important to accept people for who they are?”; “Write a letter to someone you believe needs to show more kindness.”; or “Write a fictional story from the perspective of a villain or monster, to explore why a character is mean, what their character feels, and what happens when their character realizes how their actions affect others.”

Students in 826DC’s After-School Writing Lab spent the fall semester exploring themes of perception, kindness, and empathy through the practice of writing. “We’ll Walk Together” is an anthology of fresh student perspectives on the importance of living your values. The new book features cover art by Samantha Fiddy Lane, a foreword written by 826DC volunteer Alex Turley, and book layout design by Phim Her. We look forward to sharing this collaboration and invite you to celebrate the book’s release with us on January 24, 4:30-6pm at 826DC. See full event details here. With luck, young authors will be available and ready to autograph their work.

With divisive rhetoric on the rise across the country, it is essential young people connect with other kids who may seem different from them and find common ground. Research shows building these connections requires greater empathy, compassion, and kindness—all skills and traits fundamental to creating more inclusive environments that prevent bullying. It’s a topic that comes up in student writing nationwide, and both 826 and Cartoon Network believe those perspectives should be heard on a national scale.