BLOG – JUNE 2022 – SUMMER NEWS

BLOG – JUNE 2022 – SUMMER NEWS

Here is summer, which – other than the worry about hurricanes – is one of my favorite times of the year, with long evenings and the chance to go the beach or enjoy the pool at weekends. It was great fun hosting our annual LFPR pool party last weekend for our dedicated employees and family members as we celebrate our 11th year in business.

Joy and celebrations are important at LFPR because we all work hard, and the mutual support and teamwork I see every day at our company is something I really value. Team LFPR loved attending the wonderful wedding of our recently promoted account director, Kristyn Fielding, as she became Kristyn Beasley. Talking of promotions, Allie Robinson, a two-year LFPR veteran and former senior account executive, is now an account manager. We formally welcomed Emily Vonck, who served as the agency’s spring 2022 intern, to the team as our new full-time marketing assistant. We are also enjoying having Caroline Boykin working with us as our summer intern. We wish Crystal Vogel and Hollie Barnidge all the best and thank them for their hard work over the years as they leave LFPR.

One of the biggest growth areas for LFPR’s marketing services is in our online work, and to recognize her contributions to it, Shelby McKee has been promoted to digital design director. She manages the design of responsive, user-friendly websites, as well as branding, digital and print materials, while tracking and analyzing website performance metrics and user engagement to make effective and data-driven design decisions. Zack Adams also joins us as our part-time website developer, and we are thrilled to have his technical expertise on our team. Every staff member is dedicated to this company, its success, and the clients we serve, as is evidenced by the quality work they produce and their wonderful attitudes. I am proud to offer these well-deserved promotions and excited to watch their careers continue to grow.  

 Check out some recent new websites we have built for our clients:

One of the things that I really value at LFPR is the long working relationships we enjoy with our clients. As the 10th annual Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) is approaching this August, I look back at how LFPR worked closely with SVF over the years to build the profile of this amazing celebration of the voice! Looking back at some other wonderful client events and initiatives earlier this year, we were thrilled to be the media partners for Historic Savannah Foundation’s Preservation Month in May, Savannah African Art Museum’s Juneteenth celebration and the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire’s Pooler Run for Heroes.  LFPR also partnered with the Savannah Challenger, a premiere professional tennis event presented by St. Joseph’s/Candler and hosted by the Landings Club at the Franklin Creek Tennis Center on Skidaway Island, which returned for its 12th annual year after a break due to the pandemic.  Turning to education, we wrapped up another school year supporting Savannah’s only K-12 charter school, Savannah Classical Academy, with event and marketing services.  Looking to the business world, Georgia Tech-Savannah’s first breakfast Learners and Leaders seminar was well-attended in person and online, and the panel and discussions about the hot topic of supply chain and logistics were of the highest caliber.

Until next time, take care and enjoy your summer!

LONGTIME FAMILY PROMISE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KATRINA BOSTICK FEATURED IN ESSENCE MAGAZINE

SAVANNAH, GA – JUNE 30, 2022 – Family Promise of the Coastal Empire Executive Director Katrina Bostick was featured in the current issue of Essence Magazine.

The piece is titled, “‘It Could Happen to Any of Us’: This CEO Shares How Her Social Work Career Led Her to Fight the Homelessness Epidemic,” and was written by Jasmine Browley. It focuses on the path that led Bostick to her vocation of assisting housing-insecure families while highlighting her achievements with Family Promise since she came on board seven years ago.

Essence isn’t the first prominent organization to take note of Bostick’s commitment for helping the homeless and the passion she exudes in furthering her organization’s mission. When Family Promise’s national headquarters merged three local affiliate branches in Chatham, Bryan and Effingham counties in 2020, the choice to appoint Bostick as executive director of the newly formed Family Promise of the Coastal Empire was a natural one. She rose to the task without hesitation and hasn’t looked back, taking the nonprofit to new heights while helping record numbers of homeless families during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

As Bostick told the Essence article reporter, her ultimate goal is not only breaking the cycle of homelessness among the families her organization helps, but lifting an entire population out of poverty for good. She does that by ensuring Family Promise provides top-notch programs, training workshops and initiatives that individuals can work through to improve their circumstances for good – giving them a hand up and not just a hand-out.

Before beginning her journey with Family Promise, Bostick was employed at a childcare center for 13 years, where she worked frequently with nearly impoverished families. While studying for her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Savannah State University in 2013, she began working at Family Promise, then known as the Interfaith Hospitality Network. This experience changed her understanding of homelessness to something that put children and families on the forefront. She was appointed executive director of Family Promise in 2015, shortly after graduating with her Master of Social Work degree from Valdosta State University. In 2020, she became the director of the newly formed Family Promise of the Coastal Empire. She has three children, Alexis, Donovan and Lauren, and lives in Pooler with her dog, Charlie.

Essence Magazine is a monthly lifestyle magazine for Black women, covering culture, fashion, beauty and entertainment. They utilize a multi-platform presence through publishing, online media, videos and social media channels to reach their target audience. The article on Bostick can be read here: www.essence.com/news/money-career/katrina-bostick-aiming-to-end-homelessness-with-her-work/ Browley, the Essence reporter, contacted Family Promise’s national headquarters with the idea to feature Bostick in the magazine after she researched the work Family Promise of the Coastal Empire has been doing since the 2020 merger, as well as Bostick’s service on the Family Promise National Affiliate Council and her other community initiatives over the years.

“We’re so proud of the work Katrina has done to advance Family Promise’s mission throughout the region. Her work speaks for itself, so it comes as no surprise to the board that a notable publication like Essence would highlight her achievements within their pages,” Family Promise of the Coastal Empire Board Chairman Jason Crosby said. “We congratulate Katrina and thank her for all that she’s done and will continue to do.” 

Family Promise works with host congregations to reduce the number of families who are separated when they fall on difficult times and find themselves homeless. However, the organization expands its mission beyond just providing meals and shelter for families. They also offer mentoring, homelessness-prevention programs and services, and initiatives to address the underlying causes of homelessness. Family Promise has a strong track record in keeping families together, while offering support and resources towards long-term independence.

For more information about Family Promise, please visit www.familypromisece.org, email info@familypromisece.org or call 912-790-9446.

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For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com at 912-429-3950, Allie Robinson at 912-547-3100 or allie@lesleyfrancispr.com, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

HSF CREATES YOUTH GUIDE ENSLAVED JOURNEY PROGRAM FOR DAVENPORT HOUSE MUSEUM

SAVANNAH, GA – June 27, 2022 – Historic Savannah Foundation’s Davenport House Museum (DHM) has added a new program to its slate of offerings, which include in-person and virtual tours, historical re-enactments, educational special events and local collaborations. The most recently added feature, a Youth Guide program, is a youth-engagement activity that allows visitors to complete a “journey” as one of the home’s enslaved residents.

The intention of the DHM’s Youth Guide program is to provide younger online guests and the virtual community with a more accurate depiction of the Davenport family household, as well as the lives of enslaved people in a 19th century Southern port city. The legacy of the enslaved people – not only in the Davenport House, but also throughout Savannah – is critically important to the history of the city. It is because of enslaved people that much of the city exists as it does, from buildings and trades to traditions and experiences.

Thirteen documented enslaved people lived and toiled in the Davenport House in the early 19th century, playing an essential role in the family’s existence. That is why it is important that the story of the enslaved household members be included in the story of the Davenports. While the museum’s docents and tours do verbally acknowledge these household members, the ability to tell the full story of this part of history previously had been limited. However, thanks to extensive research by Kelly Westfield, a former Davenport House graduate student intern, those limitations have been significantly reduced. Westfield, who earned a master’s degree in 2018, used the Davenport House enslaved people as the basis for her thesis.

“Kelly is a very gifted researcher. Her work has a legacy much longer than just the credit she received from her university. She has continued to do work on the biographies and narratives of the individuals who were enslaved here long after her academic work was completed,” Davenport House Museum Director Jamie Credle said. “Even today, she continues to do research on the house. She is seeking a doctorate degree using this information as a basis for her dissertation. That was a gift to us. Kelly has been very generous with her time. Her work has made everything possible – her research is the basis for all this expansion – the Youth Guides, the upcoming Urban Enslaved Exhibit, our docent-led tours interspersed with new information, and interpretations. It has been extremely important.”

Using a $5,000 matching grant from National Trust for Historic Preservation, the DHM hired the Nobis Project to create the Youth Guide program. The Nobis Project is a local non-profit educational organization, founded in 2008, whose mission is to inspire purpose, pivot mindset, and activate agency. It supports and collaborates with educators in developing community-engagement experiences that prepare student leaders to create a more just, sustainable, and equitable world.

The Youth Guide activity was developed with children ages 8-15 in mind, and it has a full interactive component that allows visitors to experience it online. Credle said the museum might eventually add an in-person aspect as well. While the program is always useful and relevant, its availability will be especially meaningful when the Urban Enslaved Exhibit, currently under construction, is complete and can be included in an enslaved person’s Journey.

Development of the program began in mid-2020 when the demand for digital resources was soaring.

“At the time, everything was virtual, so it seemed like a good time to do it. We didn’t know what the world would be like, post-COVID, and everyone was looking toward the virtual experience. Along with the Nobis Project’s efforts, we did the creative work of finding actors and getting a designer to design it on the website using virtual tour footage,” Credle said. “The actors, people of color, created some content for the Journeys. They liked being creative and adding that component to the whole project.”

The project, which is free to all, is located on the Davenport House Museum’s website, davenporthousemuseum.org, under the “Visit” tab on the drop-down menu. Credle said, “It’s easy to find and is very user-friendly, with each Journey lasting about 30 minutes, depending on how long users study the information.” She hopes the Youth Guide program will be used as an educational tool.

“I hope teachers or educators looking for resources on this particular aspect of 19th century history will be able to use it as something that fits with or accents their curriculum. It’s a learning tool that is content-rich and specific. It offers something concrete that someone can learn as opposed to learning a concept or piecing together a story you’re just guessing at,” Credle said.

Historic Savannah Foundation, a leading nonprofit preservation and cultural institution, saves buildings, places, and stories that define Savannah’s past, present, and future. Following its formation in 1955, the organization started a Revolving Fund to save endangered historic properties, now totaling 410 buildings throughout several of Savannah’s historic districts. HSF continues to build capacity within its operations, secure new financial resources, improve its image and visibility, and increase public policy efforts to protect Savannah’s historic districts.

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or email kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

100 YEARS OF CHECKER CABS

The cost of travel is going up dramatically right now, and nowhere is this more evident than the price of gas.  It could be worse for us here in Coastal Georgia, of course, we could be paying California prices or be in the UK, where people are paying the equivalent of almost $9 a gallon at the moment.  While this is impacting everyone, I really feel for those people who earn their living by driving other people – taxi and Uber drivers.  It got me thinking about taxis on both sides of the Atlantic.

Did you know that this year the Checker Motor Corporation, the company which made the big, square, clunky-looking iconic American yellow taxi-cab, is 100 years old?  Founded in 1922 in Kalamazoo, Michigan the company was formed through a merger of two existing automobile companies. From 1922 until 1959 Checker’s production vehicles were built almost exclusively for the commercial livery (taxi) business, although the company would build individual vehicles for personal use if requested. Checker cabs were highly valued for durability in heavy usage and special features which included wide rear doors, large rear seats and trunks, and jump seats for 2 extra passengers. The company had trouble competing with fleet discounts offered by the larger, high-volume manufacturers, and also did not have the economies of scale needed to obtain components at a cost effective price. By 1982, lacking the funds to develop a more modern vehicle, Checker Motors produced its final car. The company then invested heavily to pivot to third party manufacturing and become a significant supplier to GM and Chrysler.  I will never forget my first (not very comfortable) journey in one of these big, iconic, yellow monsters when the American man who later became my husband took me to New York for the first time in the 1990s.  We became engaged on that trip – although not in the back of a big yellow taxi I am pleased to report!

New York City first had a taxi service from 1897 called The Electric Carriage and Wagon Company, which had 12 electric hansom cabs available to hire.  A devastating fire ended that company in 1907, and in the same year the city’s first gasoline-powered taxis were imported from France.  These were painted bright canary yellow in order to be visible from a distance. Checker Cab dominated this business until the 1980s when the Ford Crown Vic took over as the most popular yellow taxi model (as well as the preferred choice for police cruisers).  Why?  Some say cost, others say nostalgia.  However, the most logical answer is that the Crown Vic was the last body-on-frame, rear-drive V8 American sedan in high-volume production, and its body-on-frame construction made it structurally more like a pick-up truck.  It can take very heavy damage to the body without bending the frame, which is important for the long and hard-wearing life of a yellow cab or a police cruiser.

Nowadays, NYC has more yellow cabs than regular cars. There are pre-defined rules and regulations for taxi drivers in big US cities, in which drivers have to attend classes, adhere to dress codes and decorum, and learn the geography.  Admittedly sometimes while riding in a NYC taxi it appears that all these lessons have been forgotten by the driver!

Back in England, the land of my birth, taxi cabs were available in London from 1903 but the big, iconic black cabs were introduced in 1947, and is now one of England’s internationally recognized symbols. All black cabs were initially designed to be tall enough to accommodate men wearing bowler hats which, in the years after World War Two, were essential outdoor dress for men in London.  The English licensed cab trade is the oldest regulated public transport system in the world.

All black cab drivers in London must pass ‘The Knowledge’ – a rigorous test that involves memorizing 320 routes, 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks within a six mile radius around Charing Cross in Westminster (which is always considered the central point for measuring distances from London).  While this seems a little antiquated in these days of Uber and GPS (what the British call SatNav), London cab drivers universally take pride in never, ever appearing lost or needing directions or assistance of any kind. Now that I think about it, this applies to most men I know, especially my husband.

There is a lot more about the taxi business on both sides of the Atlantic at  www.taximobility.com and www.londonblackcabs.net,

I will leave you with an amusing quote by British fiction writer, Alexandra Potter, who combines some thoughts on both taxis and men: “If only men were like New York taxi-cabs and had a light that they can switch on when they’re interested and off when they’re not available. Then you’d know exactly where you were and you wouldn’t have to worry about getting it wrong and being horribly embarrassed”.

God Bless America!

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Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com

MILNES VOICE PROGRAMS LAST CALL FOR ARTISTS TO APPLY FOR CAMP VOICE AND MILNES VOICE STUDIO INTENSIVES

SAVANNAH, GA – June 22, 2022 – The deadline is approaching for applications to the Milnes VOICE Programs and a few places are still available for these prestigious vocal intensive programs: Camp VOICE from July 17-24 and the Milnes VOICE Studio from July 17-30. Both programs will be held in person on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa and offer scholarships for classical singers wishing to attend.

 

Camp VOICE is an intensive program targeting singers between the ages of 15 to 19 years old. This program offers mentorship for the young singer as they transition into serious classical study. Daily class topics include diction and interpretation, college and career preparation, and stage deportment. Tuition for this program is $1,000 and scholarships are available based on merit and need. Find out more about this program or apply online at www.voicexperiencefoundation.org/camp-voice/.

 

The Milnes VOICE Studio intensive program offers a variety of opportunities to develop the singer as a whole artist in preparation for the next step in their careers. The Milnes VOICE Studio intensive, tailored to individual singers needs and goals, offers the opportunity to coach new repertoire and learn new stage skills, learn a role in productions of Menotti’s The Medium and great moments from Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon, working with top international faculty, and learn important audition techniques. Tuition for this session is $1,950 and scholarships are available based on merit and need. Applicants must be 20 years of age or above. www.voicexperiencefoundation.org/milnes-voice-studio/.

 

“It is so special to see a successful, world-renowned artist such as Sherrill Milnes share his experiences, insight and musical knowledge with the young artists who attend these programs. His guidance enables them to keep the great traditions of opera alive today for audiences to experience and enjoy,” said Milnes VOICE Programs Artistic Director, Jorge Parodi. “From dramatic training to role study and audition preparation during the summer programs, artists have many opportunities to improve their skills with a focus on development of the whole artist from technique and performance to professional development and personal branding.”

 

The Milnes VOICE Programs have been nurturing and training vocal artists for 22 years. Led by opera legend Sherrill Milnes, and his wife soprano Maria Zouves, the organization’s vocal intensive programs offer the highest level of training.

 

For more information about these summer intensives, please contact VOICExperience Managing Director, Lani Winskye, at lani@voicexperiencefoundation.org. To learn more about the VOICExperience organization, visit www.voicexperiencefoundation.org.

 

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For media inquiries please contact Kristyn Fielding at kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or 229-393-6457 or Lesley Francis at lesley@francis.com or 912-429-3950 or the team at LFPR on 912-417-5377. 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The VOICExperience Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to pass on the traditions of great singing and develop new audiences for opera. Under the umbrella of The Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs, VOICExperience continues its dedication to the quality, integrity and perpetuation of the vocal arts through life-changing intensives, performances, and community-enriching outreach events in New York, Georgia (with its sister organization, the Savannah VOICE Festival), Florida and Illinois. For more information, please visit www.VOICExperienceFoundation.org.

GEORGIA TECH-SAVANNAH WELCOMES NEW EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH COORDINATORS

SAVANNAH, GA – June 20, 2022 – Georgia Tech-Savannah recently welcomed Crystal Nichols and Deidra Wirick to their team of CEISMC Educational Outreach Coordinators.

 

Deidra Wirick, the new Educational Outreach Coordinator II, has seven years of classroom experience. She is responsible for creating and facilitating the summer and Saturday K-12 programs, organizing and promoting the K-12 competitions as well as teacher professional development. Crystal Nichols’ has several combined years of experience working in both K-12 education and in the public library system. Her role as Educational Outreach Coordinator I with Georgia Tech-Savannah includes much of the administrative, behind-the-scenes work to help all CEISMC programs continue running smoothly.

 

“I am very excited to welcome Crystal and Deidra to our team,” CEISMC Program Director at Savannah Campus, Tim Cone said. “Both of our new members of staff have diverse backgrounds, and each brings something special to the table. It’s great to have them, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with them on all of our on-campus K-12 programs.”

 

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH-SAVANNAH:

Georgia Tech-Savannah provides educational experiences for learners of all ages. Our multitude of learning platforms are tailored to meet the needs of a diverse population, from working professionals pursuing career development and those seeking specific certifications to children eager to explore and discover. Georgia Tech-Savannah’s professional education, training and military programs encourages participants to challenge themselves and meet goals by sharpening existing skills and picking up valuable new ones. We’re proud to bring cutting-edge technology, applied research capabilities and innovation to the Coastal Empire, where our campus also serves as a home for various Georgia Tech affiliates, institutes and centers. To learn more, visit us at pe.gatech.edu/savannah.

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SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL TO PRODUCE DOUBLE BILL OF OPERAS ‘ALICE RYLEY, A SAVANNNAH GHOST STORY,’ AND ‘ANNA HUNTER, THE SPIRIT OF SAVANNAH’

SAVANNAH, GA – June 17, 2022 The Savannah VOICE Festival will produce a double bill featuring two of its most original opera commissions as part of the highly anticipated upcoming 10th season. For two nights only, on Aug. 12-13, patrons can experience the back-to-back magic of “Alice Ryley, a Savannah Ghost Story,” and “Anna Hunter, the Spirit of Savannah,” both directed by Joe Winskye and conducted by Andrew Bisantz. The two Savannah-centric operas were written by Savannah OPERA’s Composer-in-Residence Michael Ching, and this is the first time they will be performed together in the city whose history inspired these ghostly operas.  The double bills start at 6:30 p.m. on both August 12th and 13th at the Charles H. Morris Center, 10 E. Broad St. in Savannah.

 

Alice Ryley tells the tragic tale of an immigrant’s experience with love and loss in the newly formed 13 colonies. Anna Hunter’s story, told in a comedic tone, depicts her as a newspaper reporter, painter, and community leader who aims to save Savannah’s historic squares. The double bill of the two shows is a first for Savannah VOICE Festival and serves as a special way to celebrate a decade of bringing top-notch musical entertainment to the Hostess City.

 

“Alice Ryley, A Savannah Ghost Story” debuted in October 2015 to sold-out Savannah audiences, drawing on inspiration from the book “Historic Haunts of Savannah” by Savannah-based authors Michael Harris and Linda Sickler. In 2017, Ching went on to compose “Anna Hunter, the Spirit of Savannah,” which is part of a collaborative effort with Historic Savannah Foundation’s Davenport House Museum, the first home Anna’s efforts saved from being destroyed.

Alice Ryley, played by Jessica Ann Best, is based on the true, sobering story of an Irish indentured servant, who immigrated to Savannah in the 18th century, bore a child, and was later hung on the suspicion of murder. Even Gen. Oglethorpe himself could not save the young woman as she navigated obstacles and endured heartache. Alice Ryley’s spirit is said to haunt historic Wright Square to this day.

 

Anna Hunter, played by SVF Co-Founder Maria Zouves, brings the audience back to modern times in a jovial depiction of a mid-1950s Savannah, set in the enchanting Davenport House. Anna, with the help of her friends, works to save Savannah’s historic charm as the squares are almost destroyed. Savannah VOICE Festival co-founder and legendary operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes is also set to make an appearance both evenings as a tour guide in “Anna Hunter.”

Ching is nationally recognized for his work on many inventive operas, including his a cappella adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “The Savannah VOICE Festival has shown a dedication to keeping opera alive through the classics but also through new work, which speaks to the stories of our time,” Ching said. “I’m grateful to SVF Co-Founders Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves for creating Savannah OPERA and to celebrating this art form during the Festival’s tenth anniversary year.”

The Savannah VOICE Festival will host more than 15 musical performances, recitals, productions and concerts in Savannah, running from August 7-21. For more information on tickets, performances and master classes, please visit www.savannahvoicefestival.org.

Savannah VOICE Festival is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit arts organization in the state of Georgia. The Festival brings classical vocal excellence to the Savannah area through a two-week celebration of concerts, events, and educational presentations during the month of August and throughout the year. Focusing on arts awareness and audience development in the performing arts, it offers music from opera, musical theatre, and popular song. The Savannah VOICE Festival is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Donations are tax-deductible.

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, Allie Robinson at 912-547-3100 or allie@lesleyfrancispr.com,  or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com.

Zack Adams

Zack Adams was born and raised in Bluffton, SC. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Computational Science and Engineering at University of South Carolina Beaufort. When he isn’t working on projects and problem solving for LFPR, he spends his free time skateboarding, learning chess, and learning piano. He loves taking his dogs for walks at the Skidaway Island State park. He also loves going to new restaurants and attempting food eating challenges. He has been working at LFPR since 2022.

BEYOND THE BELL MACON-BIBB AND GREATER LIZZIEBORO BAPTIST CHURCH TO HOST COMMUNITY CELEBRATION JULY 9

MACON, GA. – June 13, 2022 – Beyond the Bell Macon-Bibb, in partnership with Greater Lizzieboro Baptist Church, invites residents of Macon-Bibb County to a community-wide celebration of youth and family. This free event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 9 at Greater Lizzieboro Baptist Church, 1180 Fort Hill St. Macon, GA 31217. This celebration will have free food, community speakers and opportunities for raffle drawings to win fun prizes.

At the community celebration event, Beyond the Bell will provide information on programs and services that work to assist young people and their families live healthy, safe lives avoiding substance abuse. Attendants of the celebration will have the opportunity to hear from Rev. Dr. Derek Dumas, the Greater Lizzieboro Baptist Church pastor.

Beyond the Bell works to provide education and support to young people and their families in the prevention of alcohol, marijuana and tobacco use and abuse. “We use evidence-based strategies to help better equip our community in providing a safety net of tools for young people,” said Executive Director Sandra Dean Executive Director Sandra Dean. “We are thrilled to partner with Greater Lizzieboro Baptist Church to provide a mission-oriented day of family fun for the community.”

Alongside community events, Beyond the Bell provides programs to the community including the “Botvin Life Skills Training”, which consists of a 7-week groundbreaking substance abuse and violence prevention program which is designed to promote mental health and positive youth development.

The organization also runs a “Positive Social Norms” campaign which focuses on the fact that people’s behavior often is influenced by their perceptions of what is “normal” or “typical.” The problem is that people usually severely misperceive the typical behaviors or attitudes of their peers. For example, if people believe most of their peers drink alcohol, then they are more likely to choose to drink, as well. Using social norms communications to inform people that most of their peers do not drink alcohol can potentially lead them to avoid alcohol use.

For more information about Beyond The Bell and its programs/resources, please visit www.beyondthebellkids.org.

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For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com, Allie Robinson at allie@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-547-3100 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

CELEBRATING 70 YEARS ON THE THRONE

It has been my observation that British people who come to live in the USA fall into two distinct groups.  The first group always refer to the UK as ‘home’ and plan – sometimes vaguely – to go back someday.  The second group fall in love with the USA, recognize it as the world’s greatest democracy, and make a long-term commitment to being an American citizen.  I fall into the latter group as I celebrate 10 years as a naturalized American citizen.  America is my home. 

Of course, there will always be a piece of my heart that belongs to Great Britain, the land of my birth, and last weekend was one of those occasions. I wish I could have been in the UK to celebrate and honor the first British monarch in history for serving her country for seventy years. 

Celebrations took place over a special four-day weekend in the United Kingdom although Her Majesty actually became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee on February 6, 2022.  It was not celebrated at that time because that is, of course, a very sad day for the Queen personally as she lost her beloved father, King George VI, when he was only 56 years old.

In my opinion, no nation does pomp and ceremony better than the British, and the patriotism of the British people shone through all weekend as tens of thousands of royal supporters waved flags lining the streets of London.  Some had been camped out there for days.  There were many public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection.  Millions of people joined with their neighbors for jubilee lunches and street parties as well as watching the festivities online and on TV across the world.  Flags hung from millions of homes and businesses and, in a classically British tradition, industrious knitters created and placed Union Jack “flag hats” to crown the red post boxes of the Royal Mail.

The Queen did appear at several major events in person, and took part in the ceremony to light more than 3,500 beacons across the UK and in the capitals of the 54 Commonwealth countries that evening.  Her sense of humor and charm brought the house down when she appeared in a surprise video recorded with another British national treasure: Paddington Bear during Saturday evening’s concert.   Unfortunately, the Queen, who recently turned 96, was in too much ‘discomfort’ to attend some of the events planned to honor her over the weekend.  She has had some health and mobility challenges since the death of her beloved husband Prince Philip in April last year and has scaled down some commitments and handed others over to younger members of the royal family.  Thanks to modern technology the Queen was able to watch those events she missed, including the service of thanksgiving, the Epsom Derby and the rock concert in her honor. Queen Elizabeth II skipped the Platinum Jubilee Pageant parade on Sunday – but was there in spirit as an image of her younger self appeared in hologram form on the windows of her famous gold carriage.

She sent a message out as the celebrations came to an end after her final appearance on the balcony last Sunday saying that she has “been humbled and deeply touched that so many people have taken to the streets to celebrate my Platinum Jubilee.”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is officially titled ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith’.  However, she is ‘Mummy’ to Prince Charles, ‘Grandmother’ to Prince William, and ‘Gan Gan’ instead of ‘Great Grandmother’ to eight-year-old Prince George, respectively the first, second and third in line to the throne.  The four of them stood watching tens of thousands of well-wishers cheering along the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

For me, and most British people, the Queen symbolizes stability and has been a rock for the UK over 70 years.  She represents the very best British attributes such as dedication to service and God, stoicism, loyalty, a strong work ethic and maintaining a ‘stiff upper lip’ in public regardless of what is going on in one’s private life.  Queen Elizabeth has weathered many royal scandals but has consistently risen above them, and she remains immensely popular in Britain.

There is a lot more information at www.royal.uk

I will leave you with a quote from Queen Elizabeth II herself from 1947, on her 21st Birthday, five years before her accession to the throne. “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”.

God Bless America and God Save The Queen!

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com