Discovering Me…Without You
Discovering Me…Without You Personal Essay Contest and Scholarship i s designed exclusively for girls 13 through 18 who are growing up without the presence and active involvement of their fathers in their lives.
Participants are required to submit an essay of not less than 750 words that provides insight into how they have dealt with the challenge of father absence and what they have come to learn about themselves as a result. Winners receive cash prizes and their works are published.
If your essay is selected by the judges, and you are in high school between the age of 15 and 18 you could receive a cash awardof
$1500 for 1st Place winner
$700 2nd Place winner
If your essay is selected by the judges, and you are in middle school between the age of 13 and 14 you could receive a cash award of
$500 1st Place winner
$200 2nd Place winner
Anyone not selected for the top prizes will receive a $15 cash gift certificate.
YOU MAY SUBMIT AN ESSAY IF:
you live in the immediate DMV region (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia);
you are between the age of 13 and 18; AND
you are growing up in a home without the daily presence or active engagement of your biological father because your parents are divorced; or are separated and no longer live together; or they have never lived together; or your father is incarcerated
Tell us how you have faced the challenge of father absence to achieve self-discovery, to recognize your resilience and to attain self-empowerment.
SUBMISSIONS ARE ACCEPTED September 1 THROUGH October 31, 2023 (MIDNIGHT)
If you previously entered this contest but did not win either first or second place, you may still submit an essay this time around.
ESSAY SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
Only one essay may be submitted per individual.
The essay submission must include a cover page with the author’s name, age, name of school, home address and email contact.
The name of the author may not appear on any page of the essay OTHER THAN THE COVER PAGE.
The length of the essay must be not less than 750 words and not more than 1500 words.
The essay submission must be written in 12-point font and must be double-paced.
The essay must be written in English.
The essay should be free of typos and grammatical errors.
The essay should be a word document or PDF.
ORIGINALITY—Maximum 20 POINTS: The author demonstrates through her writing that the essay is based on her original story.
POWER AND CONSISTENCY OF VOICE—Maximum 15 Points: The author’s voice, as a storyteller, commands and sustains the reader’s/judge’s attention.
STRENGTH OF WRITING--Maximum 20 POINTS: The author has a mastery of the personal essay as a literary genre; presents well-constructed sentences and paragraphs; demonstrates a strong use of language; presents work that uses grammar properly and is free of typos.
ARTICULATION OF ISSUES AND THE CHALLENGES RELATED TO FATHER ABSENCE—Maximum 25 POINTS: The author explains in clear coherent sentences and language the challenge she faced or is facing growing up in the home where her father is absent.
EVIDENCE OF GROWTH AND RESILIENCE--Maximum 20 POINTS: The author presents evidence within the essay that she has faced the challenge of father absence, she has witnessed person growth and demonstrated resilience.
YOU MAY SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY FOR CONSIDERATION
IN ONE OF TWO WAYS
1. Regular Mail: Hard-copy or printed essays may be sent
by regular United States Post Service mail to
Esther Productions Inc. at 1629 K St. NW
Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006
2. Electronically: E-mail submissions may be sent to
Please write Discovering Me--along with the title of your essay.
Patricia Bitondo is a board member of the Educational Foundation of the Woman’s National Democratic Club and a businesswoman; Dr. Misty Freeman is a public school psychologist; Ana R. Harvey is a former senior executive in President Barack Obama’s administration who focused on the development of women-owned businesses; Alicia Henry is a former nonprofit executive; Shelley Livingston has been active in several social and progressive causes and organizations, including Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington and the Woman's National Democratic Club; Leroy Nesbitt is executive director of The Black Student Fund; Winfield Swanson is Director of Communications for the Woman’s National Democratic Club; and Addison Switzer is an actor and CEO of BuckWild Media. TaNika Switzer, mother of three and community advocate.
Esther Productions Inc. CEO and Scholarship Coordinator: jonetta rose barras
Arts Marketing and Promotions Consultant: Afrika Abney
TELL US YOUR STORY! BE A WINNER!
Questions? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Esther Productions, Inc. is a Washington, DC-based national nonprofit organization. Founded in 2004, it is dedicated to inspiring and empowering girls and women, especially those who are growing up or have grown up without the presence and active involvement of their fathers in their lives. The Discovering Me Scholarship Award 2023 is presented in partnership with The A The Black Student Fund. It is supported through generous contributions from Kerry S. Pearson LLC, Fort Myer Construction Corporation Charitable Foundation, Veterans Services Corporation-Emmanuel Bailey, Pepco, JRose Communications Corp and Esther’s Friends.
1st Place: Raea Jordan
2nd Place: Dominique Barksdale
Honorable Mention: Simaya Hammond
1st Place: Raine Badua
2nd Place: Rahel Tseganeh