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Cool Kid improves kids' writing, communication

June 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
This week's Cool Kid is helping children express themselves on paper, encouraging their creativity and teaching them skills they'll need as they get older.

Cool Kid Luke Southwell started an organization called Press Friends when he was in 7th grade. The idea is to help financially strapped elementary schools start their own school newspapers. Another positive part of it is that it helps kids improve their writing skills.

"Writing just gives you the chance to basically put down your thoughts and write about whatever," says Luke. "I like that it allows you to express yourself in whatever way you'd like."

What started with a few students and helpers has grown into a program that reaches so many more.

"We now have over 200 volunteers and 350 kids in 11 programs," says Luke. "Our focus now is to try to make writing more fun for them and try to incorporate more into their lives."

Luke works with young kids and runs the group, and his organizational skills and passion really come through.

"I think Luke is a natural leader. He takes the initiative on a dream that he really believes in and he shares it with others," said Dr. Susan Liberati, assistant superintendent of Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District.

"He walks in the room and the little kids, they run to Luke," said Palos Verdes Peninsula High School Principal Mitzi Cress. "They truly adore him."

One thing also stands out: Luke has a clear vision that these skills will really pay off and be used for a lifetime.

"Any field you go into, you're always going to end up writing or having to write some sort of thing," says Luke. "Having the kids at an early age find that writing is fun is beneficial to them in the future."

Luke Southwell knows that reading and writing are the basics of learning and life. And he is making it useful and fun for a generation.


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