A young woman from Wisconsin who rose to national stardom several years ago during a stint on “American Idol” — and who for years performed the national anthem in its home state at dozens of locations – is now dedicated to trying to end teen suicide and the bullying that often leads to it.
It’s no small task, but Franki Moscato of Oshkosh, Wisc., says she’s “ready” for the big challenge and has been for some time. She feels “blessed” to do what she does.
Moscato spoke to Fox News Digital about her 501c3 nonprofit, the Franki Moscato Foundation, which she started in 2019.
“God has called me to start my own non-profit organization,” she said in a recent interview, “so that I will be better placed to help save children from the growing epidemic of suicide among teenagers”.
The young woman of deep faith said: “My parents always told me to focus on the things I can ‘control’ – and acting and storytelling is something I’ve done on stage and in front of the camera from a very young age.”
But “strangely,” Moscato said, “my own success and the attention it brought me caused me to lose all my friends and drop out of school twice.” She said she was “in a very dark place” for a while. Ultimately, the bullying she suffered inspired her.
Once she made it to the other side – with the help of her family, and with prayer, her devotion to God and a deep determination to overcome problems – she decided to go out and help others. .
She thanks her local Catholic Church, St. Raphael’s in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for being there for her and supporting her charitable work. Today, she is the church’s solo pianist and singer for her Sunday services. (This past Christmas, she sang at all of her Christmas services, she said.)
Moscato and a team she assembled recently created a public service announcement for TV, radio and social media that is “scripted to ‘de-glamorise’ the issue of teen suicide,” it said. she said, “and to highlight the painful realities of the problem.”
“A lot of people know me for singing the national anthem,” she told Fox News Digital.
But she is much more than that.
(Check out his incredible performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” below, in 2019 before a Green Bay Packers football game.)
“My very first public anthem [performance] was for a local suicide awareness event in my community,” she told Fox News Digital.
“I was only 11 at the time – and I remember looking into the eyes of the faces of children whose pictures were taped to the gymnasium walls.”
She added, “It was very desperate, but the sadness kind of fueled my delivery to honor all those faces.”
(Here she is, below, aged 11, in 2013, singing the anthem in front of a packed stadium.)
“My involvement [in the local suicide awareness program] intensified over the years,” Moscato said.
“Finally, I spoke and performed moving songs of hope and faith for grieving families at this annual event.”
Nothing she does to date, she pointed out, is aimed at satisfying her “ego or anything like that.” Instead, her involvement in suicide prevention efforts “is to keep children from harming themselves,” she said.
Her path along the way included a tryout for the top spot on “American Idol” in 2019.
After receiving a precious “golden ticket”, she was eliminated in the Hollywood round in March 2019.
She has no regrets trying on the “Idol” coat. It was part of her journey as a performer and singer, she said.
“I DID THE RIGHT THING OF MY LIFE,” DON MCLEAN OF “AMERICAN PIE” FAME SAYS FOX NEWS DIGITAL
She also thanks American Legion Post 234 in Omro, Wisc., for giving her many opportunities to perform as a young singer.
Moscato never takes payment for singing the national anthem, she also said. Instead, she returns again and again to her dedication to reaching young people who may be in crisis.
“Too many families are broken up,” she said.
“With so many things going on in this world to worry about, this one goal is on my shoulders and God has chosen me to face it.”
She added, “I’m ready.”
Moscato is participating in an online program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She is studying business and political science.
She said the program gives her the flexibility and time to work on her charitable projects as well as stay involved in music training and performance.
On teen suicide, the Moscato Foundation website lists these and other vital signs that people might consider suicide:
- Talk about being a burden to others
- Withdraw from family and friends
- Talk about wanting to die or wanting to commit suicide
- Feeling unbearable emotional pain
- Talk about having no reason to live
- Showing rage or seeking revenge
- Talking or thinking about death often
- Putting things in order and saying goodbye to friends and family
The site points out that knowing these signs, offering compassionate listening without judgment, and helping someone access mental health resources are all important steps to take.
NJ MOM FORCED TO TAKE VACCINE BEFORE FAMILY WEDDING FINDS UP IN ER
For more information about Franki Moscato’s nonprofit foundation to fight teen suicide and to watch its public service announcement, visit frankijo.com/foundation.
GET THE FOX NEWS APP HERE
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.