Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center held an essay contest on tolerance as a precede to a public workshop on the issue next week.
Put yourself in the other person's shoes, and get to know someone before you judge them.
That is the advice of three Lawrence fifth-graders who were the winners of an essay contest on tolerance.
The contest, sponsored by Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, was held in advance of a public workshop on the issue next week.
``I think the biggest benefit is encouraging people to think about it,'' said Stacey Van Fleet, Bert Nash case manager.
Winners of the essay contest were Suzy Allen, first place; Megan Heacock, second place; and Ian Handshy, third place. Suzy and Megan are students at Schwegler School, 2201 Ousdahl, and Ian is a student at Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Rd.
Suzy won a $50 gift certificate and an in-class pizza party at school. Megan won a $35 gift certificate for second place, and Ian won a $25 gift certificate for third.
``Nobody can really choose how they are,'' Suzy said, adding she wrote her essay on ``how to treat people when they're different.''
Megan said people should put themselves in others' shoes before judging.
``I think people should be treated the way they want to be treated,'' she said.
She said that intolerance is present even among her fellow students.
``Like people who are heavy (overweight), people will call them different names.''
``You should just think if you were in their shoes,'' Ian said.
Organizers received about 80 entries rom fifth- and sixth-graders at Schwegler, Kennedy, Hillcrest and Sunset schools.
The question students were asked to answer in the essays was ``Why is it important to be tolerant of people who are different from you?''
The winning essays will be read at a public workshop on intolerance, which will be from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union at Kansas University.
Contest organizers plan to make it an annual event, Van Fleet said.
-- Mike Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.