City launches twice-monthly podcast

The City of Melissa has launched a twice-monthly podcast, initiating another way to reach its various stakeholders, audiences, and constituencies. The podcast airs interviews of selected Melissa residents and business owners, asking them to share why they’ve chosen to live or set up shop in Melissa.

Called “Heart of Melissa,” it is now available anywhere podcasts are offered. The two initial episodes have already debuted to favorable reviews. Future episodes will be released on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.

The first installment features a conversation with Danielle Dorman-Chapa, founder and owner of Mudpies and Lullabies Creative Learning Centers. The interview, conducted by host Drew Myers, owner of Open Mouth Communications, covers the circuitous path that Dorman-Chapa and her family took over several years to eventually return to and settle in Melissa, where she spent a portion of her high school years.          

A member of the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission, Dorman-Chapa shared the myriad reasons she and her husband chose Melissa after living in suburbs around the Houston and Dallas areas. Among them was the opportunity to participate in the growth and development of the City.

In episode two, Myers interviewed Melissa High School graduating seniors Bella Blankenship and Grayson Hurst. The two discussed their experiences as they dealt with the realization that their final year of high school would be harshly affected by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Each spoke about missing out on the expectations of all high school seniors everywhere, but most especially missing out on the extracurricular activities they enjoyed and worked toward.

Blankenship was active in theater and was preparing for regional and statewide competition against other schools and school districts with a one-act play she and her fellow Melissa High School actors were preparing. The realization that the hard work, rehearsals, and staging would not be rewarded with the anticipated competition was difficult to accept.

Hurst, a starter on the Melissa Cardinals baseball team, spoke about the disappointment of losing virtually the entire season to the effects of the pandemic. An outfielder and pitcher, he missed the camaraderie of the players, coaches, and supporters, but regrettably accepted and understood the reasons for the cancellation of the season.

Both students, nevertheless, agreed that the circumstances of the pandemic ultimately resulted in what both agreed was a blessing in disguise. They both pointed to the extended time with family as a positive aspect that perhaps would not have been present without the restrictions.

Heart of Melissa will continue to interview residents and business owners, asking them, through Myers, to tell their own specific story about living and working in Melissa. The City has partnered with Dave Quinn of Day One Experts on the initiative, who says the podcast is an opportunity for Melissa to leverage its most valuable asset, its people.

The podcasts are free and currently available. Listeners can subscribe and receive alerts when new episodes are added. Listeners should search for Heart of Melissa on their favorite podcast site.