Not all of my Changed for the Better guests craved the spotlight. Some were very happy behind-the-scenes, putting their production talents to good use in quieter ways.
Category: Changed for the Better
Changed for the Better, episode 43
From teen mom to LPN to NP, Esskee Nance-Doucet has climbed mountainous terrain in order to smell the sweet, clean air of success. Read on for her story.
Changed for the Better, episode 42
What do you do when you have the lion's share of talent, intellect, and drive to make real change happen? Perhaps, you follow a path like Tina Vasquez's. Taking great care to carve one that suited her needs, she followed her heart's passions and explored the challenging opportunities that called to her. That tendency started many moons ago. Read on to learn more!
Changed for the Better, episode 41
Ornely Aubourg was one of my tried and true students, my tiny dancer, so to speak. At Spring Valley High School, the dance studio was her safe space, a leotard and tights was her outfit of choice, and being in the spotlight was her comfort zone. Tune in to learn how this working mom has connected her performing arts training to her role as a first responder.
Changed for the Better: Upgrades
I have something exciting to share for "Changed for the Better, the power of arts in education!" It's time for some UPGRADES!
Changed for the Better: episode 40
Karema Brown has an educator's heart. Her mission is to do all she can to improve the school experience for her kids. This is her story of service, how she processed her complicated roles as a Black woman, educator, and daughter of the badge, and how the dance studio taught her that vulnerability is a strength to be cherished.
Changed for the Better: episode 39
Joseph "Royalty" Wallace, once a pulsing ball of energy, has focused his creativity and discipline to become a successful man in finance and entrepreneurship. Read on to learn how dance was the catalyst for his leap into leadership.
Changed for the Better, episode 38
Bria Manning is someone who sees what she wants and she gets it. Back in high school, she poured her energy into the Spring Valley community as a class officer, cheerleader, and active Thespian and dancer. Now entrenched in her quarter-century status, she is finding ways to balance the requirements of adulting with her need for community, creativity and dancing.
Changed for the Better, episode 37
Episode 37 features Rushane Dunn, the first alum to be profiled from the class of 2019! Always the high-achiever, he is now finishing his senior year at Brown University. We talked about his dual passions for STEM and performing arts, being at the precipice of his adulthood and his impending journey into medicine.
Changed for the Better: episode 36, part 2
In part two of Episode 36, Nathalie Alcime (class of 2007) and I talk about how her time in the dance studio helped to give her more confidence in her own skin when it came to dance performance. As her confidence grew, she learned how to walk proudly in her experience, even when she made mistakes. Learning to fail forward became the key to her standing up to the looming imposter syndrome that often get in the way of our success.
Changed for the Better: episode 36, part 1
Episode 36, part one highlights how my connection with Nathalie led to the creation of a performance opportunity that examines the slow awakening to the discourse of social justice. Sometimes, terrible events can give birth to beautiful things.
Changed for the Better: Episode 35
Darian Garner, the valedictorian of the class of 2013. A perfect blend of brilliance, kindness and humility, Darian graciously shared her stories about navigating the challenges of being Black in an Ivy League school, losing her mom, becoming an actuary, and growing into her independence.
Changed for the Better: episode 34
From the to the class of 2012, Melissa Iglody's bright, bubbly personality infused positivity and a lively spark to our performing arts community. Learn how she took those lessons from the theater and found new happy places in college and beyond!
Changed for the Better: Episode 33
A superhero is aware of the inequities of the world, and possesses the energy and drive to do something about it. Melissa Denizard is Spring Valley's homegrown superhero. We talk about how she melds activism with her exploding artistic vision.
Changed for the Better: Episode 32
Dara Orlando is somewhat of a Thespian legend. This Thespian alum has grown up to become a corporate executive/working mom. Read on to learn how she manages the demands and stays as centered as she can.
Changed for the Better: Episode 31
Welcome to Season 3!! Episode 31 takes us back to the class of 2003. A self-professed “Jane of all trades” and Heartland Emmy nominee, Marie Casimir discovered her passion for everything the arts had to offer during high school, when she immersed herself in dance and Thespians. Now, she is sharing her own vision with the world.
Changed for the Better: episode 30
Is there a gentle doctor in the house? Pretty soon, there will be! Soon, my episode 30 guest will become Dr. Dwayne Gentle. What better way to close out season 2 than to talk to a formerly hyper-vigilant adolescent about his path to being more spontaneous, changing his mindset, surviving medical school and living life exactly how he wants to live it.
Changed for the Better: episode 29
Jessica Butler (La Presidenta) was tiny force of nature in Thespians. Taking notice of our drama club in middle school, she made an instant decision: she would lead the troupe in her senior year. Challenge accepted. In this episode, we discuss mentorship, embracing your ability in the face of imposter syndrome, and learning how to "figure it out."
Changed for the Better, episode 28
As we go through life, our identity is defined by the things we do and the relationships we hold dear. In this episode, Jacqueline Smith-Musselman reflects on all of her identifiers, including the bliss (and terrors) of motherhood and her dream job as a Kindergarten teacher. We also talk about the benefits of therapy, being joyful, and the struggle to maintain balance.
Changed for the Better, Episode 27
This episode's theme is centered around social-emotional learning. So much valuable knowledge was shared in this conversation about how arts education activities support SEL for students. See what Cesia Roman learned through her performing arts activities, and how she is now paying it forward to the teenagers in her home district.