People & Places

YWP: 'My Eyes'

Young Writers Project, an independent nonprofit based in Burlington, engages young people to write and use digital media to express themselves with clarity and power, and to gain confidence and skills for school, the workplace and life.

Check out the most recent issue of The Voice, Young Writers Project’s monthly digital magazine. Click here.

Each week, VTDigger features a writing submission – an essay, poem, fiction or nonfiction – accompanied by a photo or illustration from Young Writers Project.

YWP publishes about 1,000 students’ work each year here, in newspapers across Vermont, on Vermont Public Radio and in YWP’s monthly digital magazine, The Voice. Since 2006, it has offered young people a place to write, share their photos, art, audio and video, and to explore and connect online at For more information, please contact Susan Reid at

Photo of the Week by Callyx O'Donnell, 15, of Hinesburg.

No one starts life with a passionate stance on deforestation, police brutality, or free-market capitalism; we listen, learn, and cultivate our own intricate belief system all throughout early adulthood. This week’s featured poet, Scarlett Cannizzaro of Essex, writes about for the first time now beginning to actively educate and empower herself when it comes to discussing the hot-button issues of the world.

My eyes

By Scarlett Cannizzaro, 13, of Essex

For so long,

I have listened to others — 

others’ opinions, others’ words.

I have heard them speak,

I have heard them debate,

and I have only 

wished a single thing:

to be able to know

what I agree with.

In this world,

I am realizing that 

there are many, many struggles — 

there are things that so many 

people feel strongly about — 

and I am finding that 

I truly don’t know

how I feel about these topics.

What is my opinion?

For a while,

I would listen to those I 

know closely,

and I would nod

as they talked about 

their thoughts on something.

I would immediately think,

This must be the right decision

if it’s coming from them.


if there is anything I’ve learned

from experiencing this pandemic,

it is that not everyone agrees.

Not everyone agrees,

even if they are friends,

even if they are family,

and that is all right.

I no longer feel like my opinion

has to depend

on the opinions of those

I trust,

those I have gotten to know.

I want to find my own opinions,

I want to have my own strong feelings,

and I want to know how to share them in 

the right way,

in a respectful way,

in a civilized way. 

I want to look at the world from my eyes — 

not from others’,

but mine. 

VTD Editor

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