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Congratulations to the Winners of the Fall 2013 Writing Competition!

For Fall 2013, participants read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff," by Simon Okelo, a story about learning to live with less in the midst of abundance.

The writing prompt was, "Simon Okelo, who grew up in Kenya, had to relearn what 'enough' means. He came to appreciate the volume of options at Costco, but practiced restraint to purchase just what he needed. Imagine that you simplified your life. What things would you choose to pare down or get rid of? What might change for you? What might change for society if other people did this?"

Congratulations to our essay winners and thank you to all writers who submitted essays!


Annika HollidayFall 2013 Middle School Winner Annika Holliday

Annika Holliday is a student of Carter Latendresse at Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon. Read Annika's essay about the uselessness of stuff—like trophies and goodie bags.


Spencer ReedFall 2013 High School Winner Spencer Reed

Spencer Read is a student of Mark Cline-Lucey at Vermont Commons School in Middlebury, Vermont. Read Spencer’s essay about his desire to level the economic playing field so that more people can have more—and then choose less.


Sana Naz

Fall 2013 College Winner Sana Naz

Sana Naz is a student of Professor Jamie Olson at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington. Read Sana's essay about how her consumption habits shifted when she moved from Pakistan to the United States.


Nick Young homeFall 2013 Powerful Voice Winner Nick Young

Nick Young is a student of Jenny Campbell at Langley Middle School in Langley, Washington. Read Nick's essay about how giving up his iPhone4 and his beloved dog Lucas would greatly affect his life.


Simon OkeloSimon Okelo's Response to Fall 2013 Essay Winners

Simon Okelo, author of "Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff," responds to essay winners of the Fall 2013 writing competition.



Registration is closed for the Winter 2014 Writing Competition. Student winners will be announced at the end of April.

Registration is now open for the Spring 2014 Writing Competition!

Click here for competition details, complete writing prompt, and how to sign up

Read recent student essays


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