You Write It Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our You Write It Contest in the March 11, 2013, issue. We couldn’t have written these articles better ourselves!

Click here to read the You Write It interview that inspired these articles.

Check out the winning entries below:

“Changing the World, One Toy at a Time”

Armando L.
North Providence, RI

A teenager in Garfield, New Jersey, had an idea to make a classic toy into something spectacular. McKenna Pope, 13, had an amazing conception to change the ways of a world-renowned toy company, Hasbro. It started when her younger brother, Gavyn, inquired about receiving an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. Gavyn always fancied cooking and was the “chef of the family.” McKenna even caught him cooking tortillas on a light bulb. When they went to the store to buy Gavyn’s present, all they found were Easy-Bake Ovens for girls. They were designed with flowers and were pink all over. McKenna believed this was unfair. The family was disappointed that they didn’t obtain Gavyn’s present, but McKenna had an inspiring idea.

McKenna had an idea to start an online petition to demonstrate that there should be a gender-neutral version of the Easy-Bake Oven. The petition started on a website named Change.org. This enabled many people to leave comments and share the cause with their friends. Her first idea was to write a letter to Hasbro. But she figured Hasbro would respond with a form letter. So, she started a petition online to show how many people agreed with her. The petition received over 45,000 signatures. “I shared it on Facebook and Twitter,” says McKenna to Scope. “It helped when I began doing media interviews,” she explained. Soon, she appeared on television and the news. She started receiving messages from strangers who believed in her cause. When Hasbro heard about the petition, they accepted the challenge.

Hasbro has responded to the message. Hasbro sent an invitation to McKenna’s family to come to Hasbro’s headquarters. Hasbro discussed with McKenna’s family about creating an Easy-Bake Oven gender-neutral prototype decorated with silver, black, and blue. Hasbro announced the new gender-neutral model will be available later on this year. This is amazing how a teenager changed the ways of Hasbro.

Libby B.
Union City, IN

For over 50 years, the Easy-Bake Ovens has been a popular toy. The Easy-Bake Oven has always been made for girls. They are pink or purple and often have hearts or flowers on the packaging. These toys have always been considered “girl” toys, so they always made them in “girl” colors. Boys normally do not purchase these toys, although the majority of chefs are men.

When McKenna Pope found her brother, who enjoys cooking, trying to bake tortillas with a light bulb, she wanted to get him something that would be safer for him to cook with. McKenna and her family went to the store to buy him an Easy-Bake Oven, but unfortunately all of them were pink or purple and had flowers. She knew that it wasn’t right for them to be all for girls, and she wanted to make a change. “If I think something is unjust, it’ll annoy me until I do something about it,” McKenna tells a Scope reporter.

McKenna wanted to contact the company that makes the toy, Hasbro. She thought about writing a letter, but she knew that she would only get a response in letter form, and that would not make a change. She decided to start a petition. “I told everyone I met, and I asked them to tell people too,” says McKenna. She also shared her story of her little brother on Facebook and Twitter. Her petition to make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven soon received more than 45,000 signatures!

This got Hasbro’s attention. The company invited her and her family to their headquarters, where they showed her their model of the gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven. It is made in black, silver, and blue, which is much more friendly to both genders. This product will be available later in the year. “I felt like I made a difference,” McKenna said.

McKenna’s little brother will be able to enjoy cooking in a safer way and be able to do it without being embarrassed or made fun of. McKenna, even though she is only 13, made a difference in a community, a company, and her little brother’s life.

Presley H.
Hebron, KY

Standing up for your beliefs can be rewarding: McKenna Pope, 13, from Garfield, New Jersey, is a perfect example. With an online petition that received over 45,000 signatures, this hero convinced a major toy company, Hasbro, to create a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven. But why would she care?

McKenna’s four-year-old brother, Gavyn, loves to cook. He owns his own toy cooking set, and helps his parents when they are making dinner. McKenna describes him as “the chef of the family.” Once, McKenna caught him trying to “cook” tortillas under the warmth of a light bulb. (Not a good idea!) As you can guess, the family was glad (and maybe a little relieved) when Chef Gavyn asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas.

McKenna was familiar with the Easy-Bake Oven, having received one at around 5 or 6 years old. She says it was one of her favorite toys in the world, and her family knew where to buy it. So, why the issue? There definitely won’t be more cooking tortillas under light bulbs!

When McKenna and her parents went to the store, they were let down. All of the Easy-Bake Oven packages showed only girls, and the designs were “pink and purple and flowery.” McKenna said, “I felt they were telling boys, ‘This toy isn’t for you, because only girls can cook.’” McKenna was frustrated. But, instead of being quiet about it, McKenna decided to do something.

What did she do? McKenna started an online petition. Any person could add their name to the host website, Change.org, to petition with McKenna to Hasbro for a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven. These people could also share the cause with others and leave comments.

Was it hard work? Of course! McKenna told everyone she met, and asked them to tell people too. She took advantage of social media by sharing her petition on Facebook and Twitter. Eventually, she even started doing media interviews. McKenna acquired support from various strangers who believed in the cause. Ultimately, her petition received over 45,000 names!

Were there easier ways McKenna could have brought the issue up to Hasbro? Sure. At first, McKenna considered writing a letter, but she decided she would do more than that. A letter, she realized, would only receive a letter response. But what would Hasbro do if they saw that lots of other people agreed with her?

Hasbro reacted by inviting McKenna and her family to their headquarters. There, they showed them the prototype of a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven (available later this year) with the colors of blue, black, and silver. It was a success! Overall, McKenna said, “I felt like I made a difference. I hope this shows other kids that they can too.”

 

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