(White House photo)
A Boston program aimed at reducing the dropout rate for English-language learners in Boston Public Schools was one of 15 programs nationwide to receive the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award today.
The founder of Project ALERTA, Lucia Mayerson-David, and Dorchester fifth-grader Noelia Lugo attended a ceremony at the White House, where they picked up a plaque, a $10,000 grant and praise from First Lady Michelle Obama.
“This year’s awardees are shining examples of using success in the arts and humanities as a bridge to success in life,” Obama said, according to a statement. “Through them, our young people are not only discovering new talents and finding their creative voices, but also becoming better students, better leaders, and better citizens.”
ALERTA was founded to curb the dropout rate among English-language learners by combining arts education with academic studies.
The program has served more than 3,000 students over the past 22 years, through after-school programs at various Boston public schools and intensive sessions during the summer and spring break on the UMass Boston campus.
Three other groups from New England also received awards: Community MusicWorks in Providence, which provides free musical education for young people; RiverzEdge Arts Project, Woonsocket, R.I., which provides employment in the arts for disadvantaged youths; and Artists Collective's Transforming the Lives of High Risk Youth, training in the arts and culture of the African diaspora, Hartford.