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Lights dim, a sun rises, and The Lion King comes to life on stage. But beyond awesome costumes, music and choreography, the musical brings a better feature to wow a young female audience member—Girl power!

With strengthened narratives and voices of women, Van Wezel’s Education Team identified a chance for students to explore self-identity when Broadway’s adaption of one of Disney’s greatest hits came to town. Barancik Foundation pounced on a once-in-a-showtime opportunity for Girls Inc. members to explore the musical’s themes, artistry and representation of female characters.

During Spring Break, a $28,120 grant enabled trained teaching artists to bring the production of The Lion King into the Girls Inc. classrooms. Through art, music and dance, students dove into the script to learn about character development, build confidence and find their voice.

To strengthen the opportunity, a generational component was added to engage the students’ families. Students performed for their parents and siblings at a special dinner to show them what they learned. The finale of the program was wrapped up with a live performance of the musical at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and a behind-the-scenes meet and greet with the cast.

Seeing a powerful role model on stage can have a transformative effect on a young girl’s life. Now when Nala sings “always remember your pride,” no words will speak more directly to the members of Girls Inc.

About Barancik Foundation

The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida.

1515 Ringling Boulevard, Suite 500, Sarasota FL 34236
The Barancik Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding.

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