The Americanism Essay Contest was created to teach students the value of patriotism and what it means to be Americans. Thousands of students participate in the program each year and help promote a lifelong respect of our flag and country.
Students (grades 3 to 12) explore the fundamental rights and freedoms we enjoy today. Each year’s contest has a different theme; one student in each category per division is awarded a prize. There is a category for students with special needs.
Current Essay Theme: “What does patriotism mean to you?”
Educating our children about American history is extremely important to our country’s civic health. “Star Spangled Kids” is the American Legion Auxiliary initiative to educate our youth about United States history, Americanism, and the U.S. Constitution.
ALA Units sponsor Star Spangled Kids activities in conjunction with local schools and youth groups. Some activities include:
Veterans in Community Schools, an American Legion Family program embraced by members of the American Legion Auxiliary, brings history to life as local veterans tell students about their experiences in the military. Students gain firsthand knowledge from the one who lived the story they are telling.
This open forum of learning from those who fought for our country instills patriotism and an appreciation for their freedom in America. They learn about the horrors of war, life in the military, and how service affected their lives and the lives of others. Veterans sharing their stories help students learn from and appreciate the sacrifices the individuals and their families have made.
In addition to sharing their personal stories, veterans may also discuss a wide range of topics, including how to:
The Veterans in Community Schools program also can benefit veterans. Sharing their military story with an appreciative audience can help them heal from psychological wounds from combat, deployment, or family separation. Veterans who have spoken to students generally describe the experience as rewarding.
Created in 2002 by the National Children & Youth Committee, these awards are presented annually throughout the year to recognize the heroism and helpfulness of youths under age 18.
In the past three years alone, more than 1,000 Youth Hero and Good Deed awards have been presented to deserving youth.
Nominations are accepted by local ALA units. If you know of someone deserving of one of these awards, submit a nomination.
Youth Hero Award
Youth Hero Award winners receive a medal and a certificate.
Good Deed Award
ALA Units sponsor poppy poster contests in local schools. When schools do not conduct activities, other youth groups, including ALA Junior members, may participate under direct supervision of the local ALA unit. Contest Classes: