Expanding arts education
YPT’s model of teaching has garnered attention from media across the nation, and the organization has won numerous awards, including the prestigious National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in October of 2010.
The award was presented to YPT by First Lady Michelle Obama, and solidified the importance and success of YPT’s work with students.
“We all went to the White House and were asked specifically if we could bring a student,” said executive director Brigitte Taylor. “One of our students, Marianna, had written a play about missing her mom. It was so simple and beautiful. She got to go on stage and talk about her work and her experience in front of all these people, including Michelle Obama. She also got to call her mom from the White House. Anytime that I’ve been able to see the path a young person takes from beginning to end like that has just been so meaningful.”
In the future, YPT hopes to expand to even more schools across the area and reach even more students. “A lot of people are drawn to arts education—I knew that it was important because of the meaning of the arts in my own life, but it wasn’t until I saw that transformative power in these students that I really understood the meaning and power of the arts. I want to make sure every student is successful,” said Brigitte.
“I’ve learned the importance of being young and needing a creative outlet,” said Shelby, a YPT volunteer. “It gives kids the opportunity to trust their own ideas and tells them that what they think and say is important. The mission is amazing. As I was working more and more with the kids, I discovered how important their voices are, and especially how important it is to give a voice to youth in underserved areas.”