The BoldFuture for the Coastal Bend initiative is offering prizes for area students who participate in an essay contest.

Students who are pre-kindergarten through college age in Nueces and San Patricio counties can enter into the BoldFuture essay contest, which asks participants to address, "I Can Improve My Community By…."

"We chose the topic because we want to inspire students to envision themselves taking positive action and responsibility for their communities," Chere Large, a volunteer with the BoldFuture Youth Team, said. "BoldFuture organizers want to gather the visions of our young people, the core of our future - Their input will have long-term effects on the entire Coastal Bend."

The contest is divided by grade categories and includes prizes sponsored by area businesses. Winners in each category will be notified after Jan. 26, 2009, and organizers plan to hold an awards ceremony on Feb. 28.

Categories and prizes include: Pre-kindergarten through second grade, Leap Frog Reading System; third through fifth grade, Vtech Touch Tablet (Advanced); sixth through eighth grade, Fly Fusion Ultimate Homework Pack; high school, Dell Inspiron Mini 9 PC; and college level, Dell Inspiron Mini 9 PC.

To access contest guidelines, judging categories and a submission form online, go to the BoldFuture for the Coastal Bend homepage at www.boldfuturecoastalbend.org and click on "News/Events." Students must submit their entries by Dec. 31 to: BoldFuture Essay Contest, P.O. Box 597, Corpus Christi, TX 78403 or email a Microsoft Word document to BoldFutureYouth@aol.com.

Packets of information are also being mailed to local and area schools this week, organizers said.

For more information, email BoldFutureYouth@aol.com or call the BoldFuture for the Coastal Bend office at 698-2115.