‘How wonderful it is that no one has to wait, but can start right now to gradually change the world.”
In the UK, The Times and the Anne Frank Trust are hoping these words, written by Anne Frank in the diary she received for her 13th birthday, will inspire young Britons to engage in a civics education initiative. Teenagers turning 13 in 2013 are being asked to write to Prime Minister David Cameron to tell him what they think would make Britain a better place for young people.
The “Thirteen in 13” website provides the 13-year-olds everything they need to get the job done. There are various writing prompts about topics including community, war, media, equality, health, immigration and jobs to help get the kids started. No need for an envelope and stamp: This being 2013, they send their letter to the PM online (with the permission of a parent or teacher).
From the letters already posted online, it appears that the teens’ concerns are wide-ranging. One girl, worried about Internet safety, suggested the minimum age for registering for a Facebook account be raised above 13. Another, concerned about poverty, thinks there should be a law stating that one must be 18 before having a child. A boy asked Cameron to build more public facilities for teens to hang out and play football. “You were a teenage boy once yourself – try to think about our needs, too!,” he wrote.
The writers of the best two letters each week will receive a prize, and at the end of the campaign, judges will select 13 letters to present to the prime minister.
The letters won’t go unanswered, as Cameron has committed to write a response, which will be published in The Times.