Sharing Your Gifts

 There are so many talented children in Young Patriots Club that we encourage them to seek out ways in which they can further share their gifts. 

Patriot's Pen


Each year, more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter VFW Post 8879's Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $55,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. 

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. 

Voice of Democracy


Established in 1947, VFW Post 8879's Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. Each year, nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program. 

The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid

 directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. 

Who Is Your Hero?


The American Red Cross hosts an annual Heroes of the Heartland award ceremony, and they hold the Heroes of the Heartland Essay contest along with it. Students in 4th and 5th grade are invited to write an essay about who their hero is and why. Their hero can be anyone in their life in whom they see heroism of any kind. This could be anyone from a teacher or coach to a parent or relative. The writer can explain why that person is their hero through stories and narratives of fond experiences with them. No application is required, and each essay may be no more than 400 words.

Students or parents may mail essay submissions to

Heroes of the Heartland Essay Contest

c/o Caslon Hatch

 2116 Grand Avenue – Des Moines, IA 50312

or email it to

  Essay contest winners and their parents/guardians and their heroes are invited to attend the Heroes of the Heartland breakfast in March, 2020, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Further times and dates, including the essay deadline, will be added as the event draws nearer. A small monetary award is presented to the essay winner.

YPC Writing and Art Contests

 This year YPC is holding Art and Writing Contests for YPC Members. These contests are a way for YPC members to share their abilities with others and we hope to see a piece by you! The age categories are 4-6-year-olds, 7-9, 10-12, and 13 or older. The age categories will be judged separately. The winners pieces will be presented at the Heats for Hero's Event. (With creators consent.) Only YPC Members may enter. The deadline for both of these is October 21, 2019. 

  This year the writing contest theme is Sacrificial Living. YPC's Writing Contest has two forms of writing you can choose between, short stories or poems. They will be judged separately. The word limit for all writings is 200 words. 

 This years art contest theme is Sacrificial Living. For the art contest, you may choose any form of media you choose. (Such as crayons, paint, or pencils.) The winner's art pieces may be presented at the Heart's for Hero's Event. (With the artist's consent.) 

  Please reach out to a YPC Leader or Youth Leader for assistance if you wish to participate or if you know of any other similar contests.