City of Alexandria, VA
SOHO Mentoring Program is Semifinalist for President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities Award
The Alexandria SOHO—Space of Her Own program has been chosen as a 2009 Coming Up Taller Award Semifinalist by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and its partner agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A national jury of field experts will review semifinalist’s programs and select the winners. First Lady Michelle Obama is the Honorary Chair of PCAH.
SOHO’s selection among 420 applicants nationwide distinguishes it as one of the top arts- and humanities-based after-school programs. Developed in 2002 by the Alexandria Court Service Unit and The Art League, Inc., SOHO has nurtured 93 at-risk, pre-teen girls through a yearlong program that combines art, life skills lessons, and lasting relationships with mentors. This unique government and nonprofit partnership pairs each youth with an adult, female mentor. They meet weekly for life skills lessons, healthy meals, and art classes taught by The Art League’s professional artists. In the springtime, each girl’s room is decorated with artwork that they create during their after-school sessions, and their rooms are renovated to provide ample study space and lighting, giving each girl “a space of her own.” The program culminates in a community art gala and video that unveil the renovation projects. The program has thrived; providing participants with three years of continuing activities and support services through the SOHO Sisterhood Club.
The Coming Up Taller Awards recognize and support outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people, provide them learning opportunities and chances to contribute to their communities. The award winners receive a $10,000 cash contribution to support their continued work.