By Luci Manning
A White House ceremony hosted by Michelle Obama honored 12 community-based afterschool programs that reach underserved youth with national arts and humanities awards. The First Lady said the programs teach kids skills like problem solving, teamwork and self-expression that are also critical in the classroom and workplace. Mrs. Obama also thanked educators, artists and leaders for working with tight budgets and putting in late hours. The 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are hosted by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies. This year’s winners were chosen from more than 350 nominations.
Middle school students participating in afterschool programs in Rhode Island have helped design a new video game that promotes healthy relationships and aims to help stop teen dating violence. Sojourner House, an advocacy and resource center in Providence for domestic violence victims, premiered ‘‘The Real Robots of Robot High’’ on Monday at Highlander Charter School. The game and accompanying curriculum were developed by Sojourner House in partnership with afterschool programs in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls; the youth advocacy organization Young Voices; the state education department; and a publisher of ‘‘social impact’’ video games.
About 50 students from Schenectady High School participated in an after school cleanup, which extended beyond school grounds into streets surrounding the campus. The Schenectady high school, which has been listed on the state’s “persistently dangerous” schools list from 2008 to 2011, also viewed the cleanup as a way to revitalize the school’s image. Many of the volunteers were part of clubs such as the Anime Club, Junior ROTC, Key Club, Student Ambassadors, Community Service Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance.
The Atlanta Music Project, which gives quality instruments and daily classical training to more than 87 inner-city children participating in three sites, recently won a $122,801 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the biggest grant in its two-year history. The grant will be used to create the Atlanta Music Project Academy, which will give private lessons to the top 22 players in the project and offer them master classes, opportunities for recitals and quality instruments.