Deep Center was honored yesterday by First Lady Michelle Obama at the The White House with the nation's highest honor for youth arts and humanities programs--the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. Deep young author André Massey Jr. and Executive Director Dare Dukes represented Deep at the White House.
And to doubly honor Deep's work and Savannah, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities chose 14-year-old André to speak. He was the only young person to speak at the ceremony. With the First Lady sitting 10 feet from him, he spoke of how writing poetry in a Deep workshop helped him discover his unique story, his place, and his power in the world. He gave shout-outs to his workshop's writing-teachers, Brad and Melanie, and described how they encouraged, loved, and pushed him. His father was present to share in the joy. Along with the First Lady, the nation's arts leaders were present to listen to, laugh with, and cry with André. He brought the house down, and got several hugs from the First Lady in the process.
Thank you, Savannah. This is your award. Deep Center is your community at work. André is your son and your young community leader. He is just one of many brilliant young minds flourishing inside of Deep workshops.