Michelle Obama Touts Youth Art Education Programs
At the ceremony for the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards held early this week at the White House, Mrs. Obama spoke about the importance of arts in our country’s schools and how these programs inspire students to dream big.
“You light a fire in them,” she said. “You help them grow emotionally and socially.”
Part of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award recognizes the top youth development programs that utilize engagement in the arts and the humanities to improve academic achievement, graduation rates and college enrollment. Programs teach students dance, music, and graphic design.
Out of more than 350 nominations, 12 after-school programs were awarded and will receive $10,000. Mrs. Obama shined the spotlight on Aurora, Colorado’s “Job Training in the Arts” and Los Angeles’s after-school dance program “Everybody Dance!”.
The First Lady went on to congratulate attendees and said, “I want to thank everyone in this room, because we have here with us teachers, we have artists, mentors – all of you are doing the hard work of creating these wonderful programs for our young people every single day.”
She continued, “So through these programs, students are learning critical lessons in grit and creativity, teamwork, attention to detail that’s going to serve them well whether they go on in careers in the arts, or whether they go into science, or business, or anything else.”
I agree wholeheartedly with the First Lady: Arts education programs hold a special place in today’s schools. These programs are just what many students need to improve their confidence and give them something to look forward to each day, all while teaching lessons that will carry them through life. I’m happy that the programs are recognized for their dedication and hard work; they deserve it.