The Broward Times
By Te-Erika Patterson
The Broward Sheriff's Office recently offered a dream come true for budding song writers who believed they have the skills to create a hit song.
BSO teamed up with the Harold Reitman Boys & Girls Club to offer talented young writers the chance to win $1,000 for writing an uplifting song.
The Just Write Song Contest, open to Broward County residents between the ages of 10 and 18, last month accepted song entries that displayed a positive message, one that encourages communication with law enforcement, school officials and the community.
“We have 62 school resource deputies in 69 Broward County schools that are spreading the message about the contest,’’ said Lt. Anthony DeMarco, of BSO’s Youth Intervention & Enforcement Division. “We've already received quite a few entries that really hit the mark.’’
The contest’s official guidelines, which can be found on the BSO website (www.sheriff.org), offered a step-by-step guide for structuring song lyrics. It also offers music downloads as well as recommended song topics.
The Just Write Song Contest sought entries based on themes like respecting women, staying in school, pregnancy prevention and safe driving.
“We're trying to reach out to the community and get some positive messages out there through this contest,’’ DeMarco said.
The contest, which began on Oct. 1, accepted entries until Oct. 31.
The 10 best entrants will record their songs as part of a compilation CD in the fully equipped recording studio at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County's administrative headquarters, 877 Northwest 61 Street, Fort Lauderdale.
The writer of the best song entry will receive $1,000. The Just Write CD will be professionally mixed, packaged and distributed by the Broward Sherriff's Office. Distribution methods have not been determined yet.
The-state-of-the-art recording studio was donated to the Boys & Girls Club by a group of individuals late last year and is now managed by 28-year-old Shawn Elliott of Fort Lauderdale, whose love of music led to a fruitful career as a hip-hop recording artist.
Elliott now lends his time and energy to sharing the same love for music production with members of the Boys & Girls Club.
“Kids come in and write their own music. I teach them how to use the equipment and we record in the studio,’’ Elliot said. “It teaches the kids confidence, helps with their public speaking skills and teaches them respect for themselves and others. This contest is just the first step toward helping these kids improve their lives through music.’’