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Michelle Obama hands out youth program awards

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November 2, 2011 04:21 PM EST | AP


WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama has presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 community-based, after-school programs, including for at-risk kids.

The programs use dance, theater, writing, music, history and other art mediums to inspire teen moms and other young people and help them reach their potential. The first lady said at a White House ceremony Wednesday that the programs show that the arts are a lifeline – not a luxury – for many of these kids.

Most of the participants graduate from high school or earn a GED and go on to college.

The 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are presented on behalf of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies.