Miss Florida is an Anti-Addiction Warrior!
Beauty Pageant Contestants have said they wanted to “Save the World” ever since Beauty Contestant emcees started asking them to share their hopes and dreams. That is to say, since Day One. In fact, so many contestants used the same answer so many times for so long, it ended up becoming a bit of a joke. Then a new Miss Florida came along and switched the script. Said she wanted to Save the Addicted World. And from the way she said it, it’s clear she’s also determined to make folks take this answer very, very seriously.
Her name is Lindsay Bettis. And yes, like we said, she’s determined to change the way folks respond to the words coming from Miss Florida. She also seems determined to change the way folks respond to Miss Florida herself. Because this definitely ain’t your grandma’s idea of a beauty contestant winner.
A New Kind of Miss Florida
In the first place, there are no swimsuits. Miss America hasn’t had ’em since 2018. In the second, this Miss Florida comes with her own social impact initiative. That’s right. It’s called Prescription for Change: Addiction Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. And Bettis brought it to middle and high school students across the Sunshine State. WJHG NewsChannel 7 was able to speak with the Winter Park native about it when she recently blew through Panama City.
”This was really crafted out of my own experience of growing up in a family with substance use,” said Bettis. “It was never anything I spoke up locally about. But I realized there were so many people suffering in silence and so many children growing up in a home just like mine. And I wanted to be the one to bring awareness and attention to it and break down that stigma.
“Then with that,” she continued, “I was able to get a career within the behavioral healthcare field. Now I’m able to save lives, restore families, repair communities every day.”
That career involves a position with Advanced Recovery Solutions, where Bettis currently heads the Real Talk with Miss Florida campaign. The statewide initiative is a great set piece with Prescription for Change. After all, it is what brought Bettis to Panama City. Hopefully it’ll bring her to a school near you too.
<>h2>Real Talk with Miss Florida campaign
The Real Talk with Miss Florida campaign was created through a partnership with the Miss Florida Organization and Advanced Recovery Systems. As mentioned, the bright idea is for contestant winners to chat up the state’s middle and high school students about addiction to prescription and illicit drugs. The initial campaigner, Courtney Sexton, Miss Florida 2016, found the process a great way to reach kids.
“Real Talk is real,” Sexton told ARS. “It’s not a bunch of graphs; it’s not a bunch of statistics. It’s a conversation, and I think that’s what helps change the mood and the dialogue and the way the message is received by students.”
Sexton also said it spurred some incredibly fast action:
“With Real Talk, I leave a school and within an hour I have 15 Snapchat messages and 10 Instagram messages and five tweets from students reaching out looking for support,” said Sexton. “Real Talk hits home with the students. It’s making an impact.”
Indeed. And that impact it’s making includes Sexton. She claims her most memorable moment however was actually one of her hardest. A high school student approached to say that her best friend was struggling with alcohol abuse and she didn’t know how to help. Sexton asked the student to contact her after school and she’d do whatever she could.
“I gave her some things to say and some tools to use and got her connected with the team at Advanced Recovery Systems,” Sexton said. “And she got the confidence to confront her friend.”
Most importantly perhaps, she was able to let their friend know, ‘Hey, I love you and I care for you, and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.’”
Miss Florida Lindsay Bettis Carries on the Tradition
Bettis, naturally, has picked up the baton for the 2022 Real Talk duties. But that’s hardly all the anti-addiction work the current Miss Florida has got going on. In addition to the straight talk of Real Talk, Bettis also facilitates on-point conversation via the drug prevention nonprofit Natural High. Like the Miss Florida-affiliated program, Natural High addresses young adults where they are – mentally, spiritually and physically. In this case though, it’s with both the Boys & Girls Club of America and YMCA of Central Florida. Being a Central Florida native (Bettis is actually a former Miss Winter Park) gives her advantages which are denied the outsider, whether that’s geography or just plain temperament. It also places Bettis smack in the center of a burgeoning youth population, as well as equidistant from the legions of young adults who live in the northern and southern reaches of the state.
As Bettis’s site so helpfully attests, Natural High‘s “evidence based program is used in all 50 states and makes use of current scientific findings on youth behavior, brain development, social norming, and substance abuse prevention.”
“The latest scientific research speaks to the power of positive example,” it continues, “of engaging influencers to create change in culture, and of course — the power of the natural high. This research shows that when young people find their true passions — those activities that uplift, motivate, and inspire them — and are supported in these choices by family, friends, school, and community, they are more likely to avoid drugs and alcohol.”
And how. Many are the time that we’ve seen people completely transform once they’ve identified and been allowed to pursue their true passion. Why? Because the natural high such passions release are the very same high addicts are chasing through alcohol and drugs. The big difference, of course, is that this addiction will thrill you rather than kill you. In fact, once you find the right thrill, the choice will completely complete your life. It was super smart for our Miss Florida to partner with such an inspiring program.
Finding Her Calling
And Bettis herself? Well, it appears she’s found her calling – as an all-around anti-addiction warrior. She’s already become a nationally Certified Event Interventionist (CEI). She also serves as an ambassador for the Natural High and Real Talk substance abuse prevention programs. She’ll be continuing her partnership and employment with Advanced Recovery Systems too, especially since it allows her the opportunity to repair lives, restore families and revive communities. And those opportunities will be ever-expanding via her social impact initiative, Prescription for Change. As if that’s not more than enough, now that Bettis has her BS in Business Admin from the University of Central Florida (Summa Cum Laude!), she’s fast-tracking to receive her MBA from Louisiana State University Shreveport.
Yes, Bettis claims her Prescription for Change program was crafted from the responsibility she felt to reverse the addiction crisis after growing up in a family with substance use. Well, when we add that to all of the above, as well as to her ties to Project Opioid, The Orange County Drug Free Coalition, Florida Recovery Schools of Central Florida, the Nobu app, Everglades Foundation, and Florida House on Capitol Hill, we’d say she didn’t simply craft the program to meet her responsibility, she crafted her entire life to meet it – and to meet it headlong to boot!
Healing Properties Salutes…
Healing Properties wholeheartedly salutes Advanced Recovery Solutions and the Miss Florida Organization for coming up with and implementing such an inspired program. The more young adults become affected with substance abuse, the more the world needs fresh new ways to appeal to young adults. Real Talk with Miss Florida is a perfect example of such a program done right. We’d luv to see the other 49 states follow Florida’s lead.
Actually, from the looks of ARC’s site, Real Talk’s spread seems somewhat inevitable. The outfit already fields Recovery Villages in New Jersey, Ohio, Colorado and Washington, as well as four across the state of Florida. It also fields a legion of top notch anti-addiction ops, including of course, Lindsay Bettis, whose own personal curriculum is targeted at long-term, field-wide qualification. Heck, she’s already more than well on her way!
How ’bout you? Are you ready to step up with Bettis? Care to turn a problem into a solution? Well, then give us a ring. Find out how the legions do their achieving, and how much fun it is to reap real reward.
And Best of Luck on December 16th’s Miss America Pageant, Lindsay!