Governor Deal Honors Youth Dance Program for Outstanding Impact
Today at the state capitol, Governor Nathan Deal honored Moving in the Spirit with a Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities. Moving in the Spirit was recognized for its success addressing acute community needs through the arts, its innovative programs and its 27-year impact on Georgia's civic and cultural vitality. Georgia Council for the Arts and the Georgia Humanities Council joined in presenting fifteen honorees with the awards, which highlight the value of the arts and humanities in the creation of a thriving economy.
"The arts contribute to state and local economic growth by providing a diversified and sustainable means for creating jobs and attracting revenue," said Deal. "These individuals and organizations contribute significantly to Georgia's excellent quality of life that we are able to provide our citizens, relocating or expanding businesses, and visitors."
Nationally recognized as one of the nation's top youth development programs, Moving in the Spirit combines dance instruction, leadership training and mentor opportunities to help young people, many from Atlanta's most under-resourced neighborhoods, overcome the obstacles they face each day to reach their highest potential. Over the past ten years, 100% of Moving in the Spirit's seniors have graduated from high school and attended college, vocational school or careers in the military. Alumni of the 27-year-old program have gone on to successful careers as accountants, teachers, engineers, professional dancers, cancer researchers and real estate developers. All credit Moving in the Spirit with pushing them to become successful leaders who engage with and invest in their communities.
"I want to give back to kids in my community the way Moving in the Spirit gave to me," shares alumna Andrea Lewis, an Emory University graduate, member of Moving in the Spirit's Board of Directors and founder of Moving in the Spirit's Alumni Association. "The values I learned at Moving in the Spirit inspired me to become a teacher with Teach for America in Atlanta after I graduated from college. Teaching opened my eyes to the vast inequalities in our educational system, and when I completed my term I headed to Howard University Law School to study educational policy and advocacy. I look forward to returning and being a public servant for our youth."
"It has been our vision from the beginning that young people leave our programs uplifted and prepared to become leaders and change-makers in their places of work and communities," says Dana Lupton, Executive Director and co-founder of Moving in the Spirit. "We are honored that Governor Deal recognizes our dedication and are humbled to receive this meaningful award."