First Lady Michelle Obama Recognizes CityDance DREAM at the White House

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- CityDance, a D.C. non-profit dance organization, was awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programming Award (NAHYP) for its after-school DREAM program today at the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities presented the award to CityDance DREAM Director Kelli Quinn and DREAM student Valeria Cruz

Each year the NAHYP award recognizes the nation's leading after-school programs for their use of arts and the humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. This year CityDance was among the 12 honorees selected from a pool of more than 285 nominations across the country, and the only organization hailing from the nation's capital.

"The evidence is crystal clear. We know what arts means to kids. Kids who get involved in the arts or humanities have higher grades. They have higher graduation rates. They have higher college enrollment rates," said Mrs. Obama at today's ceremony. 

CityDance DREAM is an after-school program that provides dance classes and performance opportunities, mentoring, and tutoring to students in Washington, D.C.'s most underserved communities. CityDance DREAM uses dance as a pathway for youth to graduate high school and discover and pursue their full potential.

"One out of three high school seniors in our nation's capital did not graduate last year. CityDance DREAM is embarking on a bold undertaking to address the dropout issue in the communities that we serve. We have witnessed the significant impact of our programs on our student's lives. It is a huge honor for us to be recognized by the First Lady and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities," said CityDance Executive Director Alexe Nowakowski

CityDance was also selected by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to anchor a new arts center in downtown D.C., The DREAM Center for Dance, which will provide a home for CityDance's DREAM participants. "I have had the opportunity to see the CityDance DREAM program in action and have personally witnessed the impact their programs have on our young people's lives. DREAM's longstanding commitment to our youth, especially those from the District's most challenged neighborhoods, makes them a cultural treasure for our city," said Mayor Muriel Bowser

Scheduled to open in 2018, The DREAM Center for Dance will be equipped with state-of-the-art dance studios, a black box theater and academic suites. With the use of these new facilities, DREAM programming will expand to triple the number of students served, as well as offer intensive dance training and integrated academic, college preparatory and family services. CityDance will be kicking off the DREAMbuilders campaign to solicit funding to support these efforts.
To learn more about the CityDance DREAMBuilders campaign, visit citydance.net. For more information about the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, visit www.pcah.gov.

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