First Lady to Present Award to Washington Pavilion's Action Arts & Science Program, 11/17

Sioux Falls, SD (11/11/2015) Chofian (JuJu) Abokbar age 17, and Rose Ann Hofland, Director of the Washington Pavilion Community Learning Center, are going to the White House Tuesday, November 17 to receive an award from First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of the Washington Pavilion's Action Arts & Science Program (AASP), which was recognized for its effectiveness in promoting learning and life skills in young people by engaging them in the creative youth development programs. The after-school program is going to receive the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation's highest honor for these programs.

The award recognizes the country's best creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. The awardees-chosen from a pool of 335 nominees from 50 states and the District of Columbia-were also recognized for improving literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness.

First presented in 1998, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the signature program of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The awards are presented annually in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

"Having the chance to represent my peers in accepting this award from the First Lady of the United States in the White House is going to be an experience that I'll never forget," said JuJu "It showed me that the power of programs like Action Arts & Science to change kids' lives is recognized and valued."

AASP's mission is to bring high quality art and science experiences to children with limited access to extracurricular activities. Since its founding 1999 the program has grown to now engage more than 500 young people each weekly in meaningful afterschool programming at over 20 locations throughout Sioux Falls..

The award was celebrated by a number of its long-time partners and supporters, including The South Dakota Department of Education, Adwerks, Mud Mile Communications and Charlie Day.

"By engaging and inspiring young people, our Action Arts and Science Program is giving them not just the vision but the skills to build a new and better life for themselves and their families, and for our community," said Rose Ann Hofland, the Director of the Washington Pavilion's Community Learning Center. "These young people are learning how to use creative thinking to work as a team, to solve problems and to express themselves constructively. These are exactly the kinds of skills we want them to have to be able to succeed in school, in work and in life."

In addition to the national recognition bestowed by receipt of the prestigious award, AASP will also receive $10,000 to support its programming and engage more young people from the community.

"We hope this award will draw attention to the documented fact that programs like ours are essential investments not just in the lives of our young people, but in our community, as well," said Larry Toll and Scott Petersen, Co-Presidents of the Washington Pavilion. "We're incredibly proud of this achievement and of the young people, volunteers, supporters, board and staff who made it possible.

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation's highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs. The award recognizes and supports outstanding programs that lay new pathways to creativity, expression, and achievement outside of the regular school day. These programs excite and engage a range of students, cultivating imagination, collaboration, discipline and academic success, with demonstrable results.

"You can't help but be moved by these kids, who show us the transformative power of the arts and humanities," said Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. "They are staying in school longer, getting better grades, graduating from high school and going on to college at significantly higher rates than their peers. And they're building skills that will last them a lifetime."

For more information about AASP please visit For more information about the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, visit

The Washington Pavilion is the region's home for the arts, entertainment and science. Located in a beautifully renovated historic building in downtown Sioux Falls, it is one of only a few facilities in the world to bring together under one roof the performing arts, visual arts and interactive science. The vast array of high quality programming and educational activities available through the Husby Performing Arts Center, Kirby Science Discovery Center, Visual Arts Center and the Community Learning Center ensures that people of all ages and walks of life can rely upon the Washington Pavilion to entertain, inspire, educate and enrich. There is, indeed, something for everyone here. For information about our programs, please call (605) 367-7397 or, (toll free) at 1-877-Wash Pav or visit our website at

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