First Lady Michelle Obama Recognizes After-School Youth Programs with Nation’s Highest Award

0
174

November 28, 2013

By Special Correspondent & Columnist, Sam Prasad Jillella

12 winners were recognized with the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award for effectively developing learning and life skills in young people by engaging them in the arts or humanities.

November 28, 2013

By Special Correspondent & Columnist, Sam Prasad Jillella

12 winners were recognized with the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award for effectively developing learning and life skills in young people by engaging them in the arts or humanities.

The Sadie Nash Leadership Project (SNLP), winner of the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award: (Left to Right) First Lady Michelle Obama,  Talia Scott, student at the program, and Meera Vaidyanathan, director of development, SNLP, Brooklyn, New York.

WASHINGTON DC — For the 12 after-school programs which were selected, it was a day of pride, honor, and inspiration. The director and a student from each program were present at the ceremony.

The First Lady Michelle Obama recognized the programs, on Friday, November 22, in the East Room of the White House, with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. 

Chosen from a pool of more than 350 nominations, from across the country, these 12 after-school programs were recognized with the highest honor in the country given to these types of programs that use the arts and humanities to develop young people.

In addition to recognition, each program received $10,000 and a year of support from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

It has been proven that these after-school programs help thousands of America’s youth do better in school — improve their reading, grammar, communications and performance skills — and inspire them to attend college.

These programs, which foster creativity and cultural awareness, also provide safe havens after-school, evenings, and weekends for youth living in high-risk urban and rural settings.

The Itefayo Youth Ensemble of Brooklyn, New York, performing an energetic dance.

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is administered by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Created in 1982, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. The PCAH works directly with the Administration and in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Michelle Obama, like other first ladies before her, serves as honorary chairman of the committee.

She praised the work done by these after-school programs, and explained why funding the arts is necessary: ‘‘If it isn’t clear by now why we have to invest in the arts and we have to give kids the opportunity to pursue their gifts, you know, you just think of all the kids that are just bursting with this kind of talent and energy and need who do not have access, who do not have opportunities to display and develop these gifts.”

The 12 winners of the award are in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Buffalo, Baltimore, Dallas, Washington, D.C., El Paso, Provincetown, Massachusetts and Newport News, Virginia. Some are specific to a particular ethnic group, such as Latino or African American, and others are multicultural.

Video: The 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards ceremony, the East Room, White House.

Sadie Nash Leadership Project,  a program where 130 low-income girls from New York City and Newark focus on social justice, and learn to take charge of their futures and give back to their communities.

Chitra Aiyar, a Fulbright Scholar, of South Asian descent, is the executive director of SNLP. She has 18 years of experience working with local and international organizations: She worked for the African Services Committee, and Grameen Foundation USA; taught at prisons and high schools; been an adjunct faculty at Columbia University, New York Law School, and Hunter College; worked in radio and film production; and founded the Berkeley-based People's Test Preparation Service, an NGO awarded the Presidential Service Award by Bill Clinton in 1995. Aiyar is the board co-chair of the Queens-based Andolan, an organization that empowers migrant domestic workers.

In an interview with MyDosti.Com, Aiyar said, “There is a lot of demand for our program. We make our place safe for girls, and help them gain success through hard work.”

Meera Vaidyanathan, also of South Asian descent, is the director of development at SNLP. She and Talia Scott, a student at the program, received the award.

 The 2013 awardees are:

Art Reach (IMLS)

Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Inc.

Provincetown, MA

www.paam.org

Boston Children’s Chorus, Inc. (PCAH)

Boston, MA

www.bostonchildrenschorus.org

CEPA’s Community Based Youth Education Program (IMLS)

Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts, Inc.

Buffalo, NY

www.cepagallery.org

Fabulous Females Temporary LockDown (NEA)

Storycatchers Theatre

Chicago, IL

www.storycatcherstheatre.org

Ifetayo Youth Ensemble (NEA)

Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy

Brooklyn, NY

www.ifetayo.org

Investigating Where We Live (IMLS)

National Building Museum

Washington, DC

www.nbm.org/families-kids/teens-young-adults/iwwl-program.html

Orch Kids: Planting Seeds for a Bright Future (PCAH)

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Baltimore, MD

www.bsomusic.org/orchkids

Pearl Bailey Youth Program (NEH)

Newport News Public Library System, Pearl Bailey Library

Newport News, VA

www.nngov.com/library/resources/locations

Project AIM (NEA)

Creative Kids

El Paso, TX

www.creativekidsart.org

Project Discovery (NEH)

Dallas Theater Center

Dallas, TX

www.dallastheatercenter.org

Sadie Nash Leadership Project (NEH)

Brooklyn, NY

www.sadienash.org

WriteGirl (PCAH)

Community Partners-WriteGirl

Los Angeles, CA

www.writegirl.org

The International Spotlight Award was presented to The Kuruka Maisha Foundation of Nairobi, Kenya, which trains Nairobi’s street youth in visual and performing arts, and mentors them in leadership and life skills.  

The after-school programs are inspiring and allowing youth to reach for their dreams.


Community Special by MYDOSTI.COM

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here