The Adrienne Arsht Center’s AileyCamp Miami, a free summer program that uses dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem in young students, on Tuesday received the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award – the nation’s highest honor for creative youth development programs. Janasia Johnson, 14, of Miami, FL. and a 2016 camper, was at the White House today along with Jairo Ontiveros, the Arsht Center’s Director of Education and Community Engagement, to receive the award from First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of AileyCamp Miami.
Founded by Alvin Ailey and the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey in 1989, AileyCamp targets students with academic, social and domestic challenges—criteria that often determine a child's risk of dropping out of school—but also welcomes students who have little opportunity to develop their artistic interests. An important aspect of the program's success is in providing positive adult and peer role models, and giving campers an invaluable opportunity to explore their creativity, learn to master their bodies, and strengthen their respect for themselves and others within a supportive framework that gives them an important foundation for the future.