Armonk Student Highlights Uplifting Stories of Pandemic Through Podcasts

Armonk student Anika Bobra
H.C. Crittenden Middle School student Anika Bobra launched a podcast last December where she speaks to a variety of people in different careers on how they overcame challenges and helped others during the pandemic.

Since March 2020, everyone has been affected by the pandemic. Many of us have focused on what has been lost, which is understandable if a person or their family battled COVID-19, lost a loved one from the virus or a job or business.

Anika Bobra, who will be entering eighth grade at H.C. Crittenden Middle School in Armonk in September, has taken a different route. With immense challenges facing so many, she has spotlighted those who have assisted others.

“Both my parents are doctors and they’d come home and tell me uplifting stories about people helping people in all sorts of ways and I needed to come up with a way to share these stories with more people and highlight the members of our community,” Bobra said.

After brainstorming for several months about how she could do that, Bobra launched a podcast called “Today I Am Grateful” in December featuring weekly interviews of people in a wide assortment of fields. They include elected officials, educators, health care workers and many others relating their stories of how they helped others and have overcome adversity. The final question is always what each person is grateful for.

Bobra has interviewed Dr. Jen Lamia, the Byram Hills School District superintendent on how the district adapted, doctors in various specialties, particularly as the COVID-19 vaccines began to roll out, people in the performing arts and an assortment of public officials, including County Executive George Latimer and state Sen. Shelley Mayer.

The theme of each interview focuses on the pandemic while spreading gratitude. The typical podcast is about eight to 10 minutes.

“Everyone has been going through a difficult time, and so by taking these inspiring stories we wanted people to create their own inspiring stories,” she said.

Getting a fresh person to interview on a regular basis hasn’t been a problem. Bobra said she reaches out to her subjects, usually by e-mail, and explains what she’s doing. Thus far, they have been enthusiastic and helpful, Bobra said. To date, she has uploaded 27 podcasts.

“I’ve gotten to learn about people’s strengths and compassion during this difficult time, and the pandemic, as I said before, has affected everyone,” Bobra said. “But hearing the stories of courage, resilience and even innovation has been very inspiring to me and hopefully my listeners as well.”

It’s helped that Bobra has a background in youth theater, which has helped to not only project her voice but comes up with creative ways to make each interview a bit unique, she said.

She interviews most subjects virtually, usually over Zoom, then uploads the audio. It can be accessed on a variety of platforms, including Spotify and Apple.

Even as the pandemic has receded in recent months, Bobra said she plans on continuing the podcasts.

“I think everybody will always remember this pandemic, we’ll always be impacted by it,” she said. “By using how they kind of adapted during the pandemic, there are still so many stories to tell.”

You can listen to Bobra’s podcasts at
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/today-i-am-grateful/id1543732392?i=1000524893343 or

https://open.spotify.com/show/6FTEWJiiutV4J3nuipPJCk?si=Ukwtx1fJReu7Sq4nEeL2uw&dl_branch=1.

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