Caldera Near Sisters, Oregon Honored in Washington D.C. with National Award

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(Photo above: First Lady Michelle Obama, Caldera student Alena Nore & Caldera Executive Director Tricia Snell | courtesy of Weinstein PR)

Caldera, a youth camp located west of Sisters, was honored on November 17 as one of 12 creative youth development organizations to receive a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NAHYP) from First Lady Michelle Obama. Caldera is a catalyst for the transformation of underserved youth through innovative, year-round art and environmental programs.

Caldera is the first organization in Oregon to receive this award. Caldera Executive Director Tricia Snell and high school senior Alena Nore of Sisters visited the White House today to receive an award from First Lady Michelle Obama. Alena attended a special White House ceremony as a youth representative of Caldera, an Oregon non-profit organization being honored for its excellence in mentoring youth through the arts and humanities.

The 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for creative youth programs, recognizing the country’s best programs as well as highlighting the positive role that arts and humanities play in youth academic achievement, graduation rates and college enrollment. The awardees—chosen from a pool of more than 285 nominations and 50 finalists from 50 states—were also recognized for improving literacy, language abilities, communication, performance skills and cultural awareness. Caldera is the first non-profit in Oregon to receive this prestigious award.

“The chance to represent my peers in accepting this award from the First Lady of the United States in the White House was an experience I’ll never forget,” said Caldera student Alena Nore. “My experience with Caldera has been life-changing. It’s exciting to see that programs like this are recognized and valued, because I know there are many more young people who need the kind of mentoring I benefitted from.”

Caldera mentors youth with seven years of continuous, year-round arts and environmental programming. Since its founding in 1996, the program has engaged approximately 1,900 young people—from both urban and rural areas—who come to the program with myriad strengths but limited opportunities. Caldera’s mentors and teaching artists help the youth find their own voices, self-confidence and creativity, while helping them develop problem-solving strategies, work skills and ways to exercise their creativity in all aspects of their lives. As a result, Caldera youth transform their own lives and often have a positive effect on their families and broader communities.

The powerful impact of the program is also evident in school success rates. In 2014, 100 percent of Caldera’s eighth graders transitioned successfully to ninth grade, and 90 percent of Caldera’s twelfth graders graduated from high school.

In addition to the national recognition bestowed by the prestigious award, Caldera will also receive $10,000 to support its programming and build the long-term sustainability of the organization.

“This award inspires all of us at Caldera—youth, staff, board, volunteers, supporters—to reach for new heights in our work. We are in this work for the long term, and we are excited to learn about and from the other awardees,” said Snell.

We also hope that the award will shine a light on the amazing things young people can achieve through the arts, through humanities, through caring adult mentoring and through immersion in nature. Providing this to every child is an investment not only in those individual young people, but in our entire society.”

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).

Oregon Governor Kate Brown expressed her enthusiastic support for Caldera: “By engaging and inspiring young people, Caldera is giving them not just the vision but the skills to build a new and better life for themselves, for their families, and for our community. 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.”

Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, emphasizes that the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards represent 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. Such 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. Goslins. “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 Caldera, please visit CalderaArts.org. For more information about the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards and the full list of 2015 award recipients, visit pcah.gov.

About Caldera
Established in 1996 by Dan Wieden, co–founder of the Portland, Oregon-–based international ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, Caldera is a nonprofit organization that supports youth with limited opportunities through long-–term mentoring, and arts and nature programming. Caldera provides year-round youth support through 12 Arts Partner middle schools (six in Portland and six in Central Oregon), high school programming, artist residencies in the schools, and arts and nature summer sessions at its Arts Center on Blue Lake near Sisters, Oregon. More information at: CalderaArts.org.

About the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards
The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs. The awards 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. They also provide safe harbors after school, on weekends and in the evenings for children and youth in some of our country’s most at-risk urban and rural settings.

About the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
Created in 1982 by Executive Order, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. The PCAH works directly with the Administration and the three primary cultural agencies—National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—as well as other federal partners and the private sector—, to address policy questions in the arts and humanities, to initiate and support key programs in those disciplines, and to recognize excellence in the field. Its core areas of focus are arts and humanities education, cultural exchange and community
revitalization. Mrs. Michelle Obama, like other first ladies before her, serves as honorary chairman of the committee, which is composed of both private and public members. For more information, visit: pcah.gov.

First Lady Michelle Obama presented the award in a ceremony at the White House, is streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

The 2015 awardees are:
ACTE II (A Commitment to Excellence)
Rosie’s Theater Kids, Inc.
New York, N.Y.
Action Arts and Science Program
Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Art High
Armory Center for the Arts
Pasadena, Calif.
CityDance DREAM Program
CityDance, Inc.
Washington, D.C.
Spy Hop Productions
Salt Lake City, Utah
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra Community Partnership Programs
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Inc.
Milwaukee, Wis.
Summer Teen Docent Program
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Inc.
New Orleans, La.
Urban Artisans
ArtMix, Inc.
Indianapolis, Ind.
Urban Investigations
The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Inc.
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Young Author Project
Deep Center, Inc.
Savannah, Ga.
Young Writers & Leaders
The Telling Room
Portland, Maine
Youth Mentoring Program
Caldera
Portland, Ore.
International
Organization for Youth Empowerment (OYE)

Watch the video of Caldera at the White House yesterday accepting the NAHYP award from First Lady Michelle Obama.  The Caldera representatives are Tricia Snell, Executive Director of Caldera, along with Caldera Student Alena Nore. Click HERE to view.

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