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"READ to Thrive: The Podcast"

How Girls must be Represented, Empowered, And Determined to Thrive
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HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 1, "The Story Behind HerSTORY"Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder
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Episode 1
Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder

Hello, listeners! I'm Lindsey Franxman, and I'll be your storyteller for "HerSTORY: The Podcast."

Did you know that in Central Florida, 25% of adults are illiterate, and an additional 30% struggle to read at an 8th grade level? In fact, 2/3 of children from low income households don't have access to books, and 90% of kids in juvenile detention centers are functionally illiterate. And most heartbreakingly, by age 6, girls already see themselves as innately less talented than boys do.

So I created HerSTORY, and my mission is to inspire girls with stories of empowered female role models to build their literacy and communication skills! Join me for "The story behind HerSTORY," and learn how in my book, 

inspiration + confident communication skills = empowerment!

HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 2, Jonathan Beatty, "I LOVE BOOKS" FounderLindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder & Miss Lakeland 2022
00:00 / 18:02
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Episode 2
Jonathan Beatty, "I LOVE BOOKS" Founder

I'm a communications leader at The Walt Disney Company, a Master of Mass Communications and Public Relations graduate from the University of Florida, a titleholder in the Central Florida area as Miss Lakeland 2022, and a lifelong actress...and none of these things would have come to be if it weren't for my love of stories and reading from a young age.

However, not every child has access to books outside of their school textbooks, or has a home life that values reading. This can lead to drastic and heartbreaking illiteracy numbers, especially in my home state of Florida.

So I spoke to my friend Jonathan Beatty, the founder of "I LOVE BOOKS," a brand that uses merchandise sales to raise money to put books in the hands of children in underserved communities, and one of the organizations that inspired my work with HerSTORY.

HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 3, Haley Begay, Miss Indiana 2017Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder & Miss Lakeland 2022
00:00 / 22:28
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Episode 3
Haley Begay, Miss Indiana 2017

Reading introduced me to many female role models throughout my life that I still look up to to this day…and this love of reading and communication, combined with seeing my role models overcome great odds to achieve their dreams, inspired me to pursue mine. I eventually got into performing and competing in the Miss America Organization, which introduced me to like-minded young women and budding role models themselves.

 

One of these young women and friends that has made one of the biggest impacts on my life was my good friend Haley Begay, who overcame great personal and family struggles, including issues with her self confidence, mental health, and the passing of her mother, to develop the resilience to achieve her dreams.

HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 4, Gabby, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida "Youth of the Year"Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder & Miss Lakeland 2022
00:00 / 14:24
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Episode 4
Gabby, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida "Youth of the Year"

I’m a communications leader at The Walt Disney Company, a Master of Mass Communications and Public Relations graduate from the University of Florida, a titleholder in the Central Florida area as Miss Lakeland 2022, and a lifelong actress…and none of these things would have come to be if it weren’t for my love of stories and reading from a young age. This positive influence influence shaped who I became and what I ended up pursuing long term. I was very fortunate to have the positive influence of my favorite storybook heroines since elementary school that motivated me to define and chase my dreams.

However, through my partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida and Polk County, I’ve met many girls who struggle with more negative influences in their lives like bullying and isolation. And then I met Gabby, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Florida's Youth of the Year...here's her story on how she's battling bullying through inclusion and leadership by example! 

HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 5, Kierra Hilts, Miss Swan City 2022Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder & Miss Lakeland 2022
00:00 / 14:27
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Episode 5
Kierra Hilts, Miss Swan City 2022

I’m a communications leader at The Walt Disney Company, a Master of Mass Communications and Public Relations graduate from the University of Florida, a titleholder in the Central Florida area as Miss Lakeland 2022, and a lifelong actress…and none of these things would have come to be if it weren’t for my love of stories and reading from a young age.

 

This love of stories guided me through many chapters of my life where I pursued different things that made me who I am today, like my journey with the Miss America Organization, where I’m a 5-time titleholder. One of the MOST fulfilling aspects of my time in the Miss America Organization has been hearing the “herstories” of the other young women I competed with, and getting to see each chapter progress firsthand by their side, just like I had the opportunity to experience with my good friend Kierra Hilts, Miss Swan City 2022, whom I've known since her VERY FIRST competition as a Teen, and have had the pleasure of watching grow into the confident young woman she is today as a part of the MAO.

"All The World's A Stage"

Original discussions about theatre and its critical role in our community.
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Joshua Vickey, Founder & Executive Director of Central Florida Community Arts

For the past ten years, Central Florida Community Arts, founded and directed by Joshua Vickery, has given community  members of all ages performance opportunities and private instruction, all in an effort to foster strong relationships and give back to their community through the arts.

However, as with all small businesses and non-profit organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida caused CFC Arts to hit some major unforeseen roadblocks. Vickery touches on how the organization adapted and the role of theatre as the community recovers from the pandemic.

READ to Thrive: The Podcast, Episode 8, The Story So Far: Reflections on my Miss America Opportunity ExperienceLindsey Franxman
00:00 / 01:04
HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 1, "The Story Behind HerSTORY"Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder
00:00 / 13:38
HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 2, Jonathan Beatty, "I LOVE BOOKS" FounderLindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder & Miss Lakeland 2022
00:00 / 18:02
HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 3, Haley Begay, Miss Indiana 2017Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder & Miss Lakeland 2022
00:00 / 22:28
HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 4, Gabby, Boys & Girls Club Florida "Youth of the Year"Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder & Miss Lakeland 2022
00:00 / 14:24
HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 5, Kierra Hilts, Miss Swan City 2022Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder
00:00 / 14:27
HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 6, Kylie Blakely, Miss Pinellas County 2022Lindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder
00:00 / 16:52
HerSTORY: The Podcast - Episode 7, Alexandra, Adult Literacy League ESL StudentLindsey Franxman, HerSTORY Founder
00:00 / 12:08
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Mark Mikhael, Board President of Theatre South Playhouse

Mark Mikhael has never been involved in theatre himself, but dedicated his time and commitment to Theatre South Playhouse after his daughter's participation in a show with the organization. 

However, as a theatre that focuses on student development through the performing arts, and with many student organizations and theatres struggling through the pandemic, TSP had to find more creative ways to survive. Mikhael speaks about his leadership role with a small arts organization, as well as his hope for the evolution of education theatre.

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Dan Arlen, Actor & Streamer

Dan Arlen had been involved with performing for 20 years when COVID-19 put his theatre pursuits on hold. Instead, he sought other non-traditional avenues of performing for an audience, including online live-streaming.

However, after years of being a professional actor, Arlen discovered that his passion for theatre led to other career paths and opportunities. He talks about his journey from the stage, to the web and beyond.

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