This week, First Lady Michelle Obama awarded Deep Center the nation’s highest honor for youth arts and humanities programs—a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

First Lady Michelle Obama, Deep author André Massey, Jr., and Deep executive director Dare Dukes

Deep author André Massey, Jr., a 14-year-old freshman at Woodville-Tompkins High School, and Executive Director Dare Dukes represented Deep at the White House. The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities invited André to tell his story at the ceremony. He was the only youth speaker at the event.

With the First Lady seated ten feet away and his father across the aisle from her, André talked about how writing poetry in a Deep workshop healed the relationship between him and his father—allowing communication where there had been distance. He thanked his Deep writing mentors, Brad and Melanie, and described how they both encouraged him, challenged him, and made him feel safe in a school where he had been badly bullied.

He brought the house down, receiving several hugs from the First Lady in the process. Watch André’s speech here, beginning at about 13:30:

This is an award for all of Savannah—for the volunteers who give hundreds of hours per semester and for people like you who believe in the power of a community coming together to value all of its voices. André is just one of many brilliant young minds flourishing inside of Deep workshops, and we need your help to continue this work and fuel the fires inside of more young people like him.

Deep Center does not suffer from a lack of demand. We constantly receive requests from schools, local nonprofits, and families to serve more children. Our only barrier to meeting this demand is a lack of funding. We need your help to run and expand our 2016 programs.

We intend to raise $30,000 by December 31, and you can help by taking three actions right now.

First, please consider a tax-deductible donation. Here is what your gift will do:

  • $228 covers the annual costs of one child in our workshops
  • $114 supports that child for one semester
  • $19 pays for one month of workshop time for that child
  • $6,500 underwrites a full year of workshops at one school, serving up to 28 children

Second, become a Deep Patron by making your gift recurring on a monthly or annual basis.

Third, please tell your friends, family members, colleagues, and co-workers about Deep Center and encourage them to get involved.

Your generosity will help give André and many more young people like him the encouragement, safety, and challenges they need to learn and thrive as our city’s next generation of creative leaders.

Please make your tax-deductible donation now.

Dare Dukes
Executive Director

PS. If you gave last year, please consider doubling your donation this year, and ensure that all of Savannah’s kids have the chance to go Deep.