City of Santa Ana
WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 10, 2014) – Twelve young people from across the country shared the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama today as they accepted the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award on behalf of the after-school programs that have changed their lives.
The award recognizes the country’s best creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. The awardees—chosen from a pool of more than 350 nominations and 50 finalists—are also recognized for improving literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness.
Among the twelve awardees is the Santa Ana Public Library’s Teen Space program whose goal is to provide programs for teens that will help them grow into successful and productive adults and provide opportunities for teens to enhance their academic and life skills via civic engagement and targeted volunteerism. The TeenSpace and Young Adult programs form the basis of three grant funded projects that focus on providing young adults with career exploration and job training.
First presented in 1998, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The awards are presented annually in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
The 12 students receiving awards from Mrs. Obama today represent a wide range of creative youth development programs, including:
- a program that provides mentoring and tutoring of young adults ages 16-21 by trained library staff that is significantly reducing high school drop-out rates (TeenSpace Circle of Mentoring, Santa Ana, CA);
- a program that brings together students from diverse racial, socio-economic and religious backgrounds to build self-confidence, leadership and academic success—and heal a community divided by race—through dance (New Ballet Ensemble, Memphis, TN);
- a program that takes students facing economic and social hardship who have an interest in music and uses long-term music education to build their skills as musicians while also promoting academics and personal growth (Project STEP, Boston, MA);
- two work-based learning programs that encourage teens to develop key professional skills and build self-confidence as paid part-time employees of the Missouri History Museum (Teens Make History, St. Louis, MO) and the New Victory Theatre (New Vic Usher Corps, New York, NY); and
- a middle school program that builds academic, creative and technical skills through hands-on activities like welding and metal fabrication, fashion and graphic design, and music production/recording (Workshop Houston, Houston, TX).
“You can’t help but be moved by these kids, who show us the transformative power of the arts and humanities,” said Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “They are staying in school longer, getting better grades, graduating from high school and going on to college at significantly higher rates than their peers. And they’re building skills that will last them a lifetime.”
In addition to their recognition at the White House, each of the 12 community-based programs will receive $10,000 and a year of communications and capacity-building support from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. For more information about the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, visit www.pcah.gov.
About the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards:
The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs. The awards recognize and support outstanding programs that lay new pathways to creativity, expression, and achievement outside of the regular school day. These programs excite and engage a range of students, cultivating imagination, collaboration, discipline and academic success, with demonstrable results. They also provide safe harbors after-school, weekends and evenings for children and youth in some of our country’s most at-risk urban and rural settings.
About the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
Created in 1982 by Executive Order, 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 the three primary cultural agencies—National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—as well as other federal partners and the private sector, to address policy questions in the arts and humanities, to initiate and support key programs in those disciplines, and to recognize excellence in the field. Its core areas of focus are arts and humanities education, cultural exchange, and community revitalization. Mrs. Michelle Obama, like other first ladies before her, serves as honorary chairman of the committee, which is composed of both private and public members. For more information, visit: www.pcah.gov.
The 2014 awardees are:
¡City Arts! Community AfterSchool Program
Providence ¡City Arts for Youth!, Inc.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Delta Blues Museum Arts and Education Program
everybody dance! after-school program
The Gabriella Foundation
Los Angeles, CA
Project STEP, Inc.
Intensive String Training Program for Black and Latino Young People
Job Training in the Arts
Downtown Aurora Visual Arts
Middle School Program
New Ballet Ensemble
New Vic Usher Corps
The New Victory Theatre
New York, NY
Continuum of Design-based Programs
New York, NY
Teens Make History
Missouri History Museum
Saint Louis, MO
TeenSpace Circle of Mentoring
Santa Ana Public Library
Santa Ana, CA
International Spotlight Award
Salaam Baalak Trust
New Delhi and Mumbai, India
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