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At the turn of the century, the founders of the Veterans of Foreign Wars created an organization that would honor and serve veterans and perpetuate the values and ideals for which those veterans served. Although men of vision, it is doubtful they could imagine the millions of Americans impacted today by the VFW’s youth, scholarship and recognition programs.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of students participate in the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition and the Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest, garnering more than $3.4 million in scholarships and incentives.

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Program Information:

Voice of Democracy

Established in 1947, our 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 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. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements and complete the application within the 2017 brochure to enter.

The 2017-18 Voice of Democracy theme is:
American History: Our Hope for the Future

Patriot’s Pen

Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. We invite you to join the more than 120,000 students who participated last year in this contest. The national winners will receive at least $500. The first-place national award is currently $5,000 plus an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the winner and a parent or guardian. Read the rules and eligibility requirements and complete the application within the 2017 brochure to enter.

The 2017-18 theme Patriot’s Pen Theme is

“America’s Gift to My Generation”

Essays may be emailed to:

or mailed to VFW POST 3010  P.O. Box 1055 Lincoln, CA 95648

DEADLINE IS October 31st, 2017



MS. Shannon Thompson, a 3rd/4th grade teacher from Lincoln Montessori Community Coop was the winner of the 2016-2017 Smart/Maher National Citizenship Education Teacher Award for the VFW Department of California.  Congratulations!

VFW launched the National Citizenship Education Teacher Award in 1999 to recognize classroom teachers for promoting citizenship education with their students. Each National award teacher winner and his/her school receives $1,000 award and a plaque.

Program Information: National Citizenship Education Teacher Award