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Twelve Organizations Receive National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

WASHINGTON (November 19, 2012) –First Lady Michelle Obama today honored twelve after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities education programs for underserved youth with the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Program Awards.

The country’s highest honor in this field, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards recognize exemplary programs that foster the creative and intellectual development of America’s youth through education and practical experience in the arts and humanities. The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are conferred annually by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Michelle Obama, the honorary chair of PCAH, presented the awards in a White House ceremony.  Each organization will receive $10,000. Among the twelve recipients, three were recognized as outstanding humanities-based youth programs:

African Culture & History through traditional dance and music (Omaha, NE) provides youth throughout the state of Nebraska with year-round residencies and workshops that focus on traditional African art forms. By engaging students in activities such as drumming, dancing, storytelling, jewelry making, and textile design, the program presents an in-depth perspective on the culture and history of Africa, particularly that of West Africa.

Myth and the Hero (Copley, OH) is a humanities-based program that supports the development of African-American adolescent males through the telling, discussion, and interpretation of mythology and fairy tales told to the beat of an African drum. The program offers weekly support groups that utilize the analysis of mythological stories and fairy tales to explore themes that are relevant to the lives of the participants, such as sacrifice, conflict resolution, perseverance, humility and confidence.

New York City Urban Debate League (Bronx, NY) is dedicated to giving all students the opportunity to become high-skilled debaters. Since the program’s inception, the NYCUDL has partnered with schools across New York City, particularly Title I public schools, to build successful debate teams. This network of over ten schools offers an array of workshops held after school, on Saturdays, and during the summer. Each workshop immerses the participants in a number of subjects including public speaking, research techniques, philosophy, public policy, civics, international affairs, law, and ethnic studies.

The other recipients of the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are:

Arts Education Program for Youth (Seattle, WA)
AS220 Youth Studio (Providence, RI)
ICA Out-of-School Teen Programs (Boston, MA)
Mariachi Master Apprentice Program (San Fernando, CA)
Out of School Programs (Bronx, NY)
Paso Nuevo/ Next Step (Washington, DC)
RISE! (Rhythm in Setting Expectations (Norfolk, VA)
Student Historians High-School Internship Program (New York, NY)
Youth Radio (Oakland, CA)

Descriptions of all the award-winning programs are available at:



About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

Media Contacts: Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424 or