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From documentaries to jazz bands, D.C. arts center foster talent, passion in low-income youth

July 28, 2014 by Rachel Nania, WTOP

WASHINGTON -- A few years ago, 19-year-old Precious Lambert seriously considered dropping out of high school.

"I just didn't feel as safe as I should have, and to be honest, it didn't feel like a priority to me," says Lambert, of Southeast D.C.

"It just so happens that my two best friends dropped out in ninth grade year, and that meant more to me than anything because we were all supposed to graduate together -- walk across the stage like, ‘We did it.'"

Lambert didn't get to walk across the stage with her best friends, but she walked by herself and received her diploma.

Finishing high school is just one accomplishment Lambert is celebrating this year. A documentary film she made about dropping out of school, called "Doing it for Me," is gaining national attention at film festivals in Bethesda, Annapolis and West Chester, Pennsylvania, to name a few.

Lambert says she has always been interested in filmmaking, but it wasn't until she was 18 that she had the chance. Through Urban Alliance, Lambert was placed in an internship at Sitar Arts Center, a community arts education organization in Adams Morgan that focuses on low-income youth.

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