Ballard High School senior Meron Kasahun and Greenwood non-profit 826 Seattle executive director, Teri Hein, stood in the East Room of the White House today to accept the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Left to right: Teri Hein (826 Seattle Executive Director), Meron Kasahun (826 Youth Advisory Board member, and Ballard High Student), and First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama
The award is the highest recognition for community-based arts and humanities programs, such as 826 Seattle, which is a writing and tutoring center that helps kids six through 18. The goal is to inspire students to improve their creative and expository writing skills.
“Having the chance to represent my peers in accepting this award from the First Lady in the White House was an experience that I will never forget,” said Kasahun. “I found my community at 826 Seattle, and I attribute much of my success to the support, mentoring, homework help, and writing classes I have received there. It was amazing to have 826 recognized in such a big way, and I am honored to have represented.”
Kasahun is the daughter of a single Ethiopian immigrant mother and has been attending 826 Seattle for more than five years. She has served as a Youth Mentor at 826 Seattle and is currently a member of its Youth Advisory Board. She is also president of the Ballard High Black Student Union, is an active member of Teens Against Tobacco and has been an editor at the Ballard Talisman.