“Naked and Unashamed” is a column designed to encourage others to be vulnerable, shift their perspective and increase their faith through real stories of hope, faith, struggles and triumphs of extraordinary people in the community.
Over the past few weeks, I have shared a number of personal struggles and triumphs that I have overcome. Now, after some convincing with my editor, I’d like to share some of the amazing people of faith right here in Atlanta.
As always, it is my hopes that someone’s life is impacted, changed, shifted, healed and brought closer to the Father through the stories presented in this column.
This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pat Martin, who is the founder and CEO of the K.I.D.D.S. Dance Project, a community-based dance program that aims to “build character through the performing Arts.” Over the years, they have received many awards such as the Building a Better Georgia Award, the Phoenix award from the office of the Atlanta Mayor and the Best Program for Children award from Emory University. This is her journey and story to becoming naked and unashamed.
- Tell us what sets your soul on fire and why.
I have always had a passion for working with youth and the arts. Even when I was little, I would practice doing Broadway songs in the mirror for hours. Once I grew up and went to College, my heart was still all about kids, even though I majored in Nursing. As a result, I worked as a children’s photographer and immediately took a path into Pediatric Nursing after graduation. However, something was missing and that’s when I was reminded that I had a strong desire for sharing and teaching the arts to youth. So, I started dance classes out of my home. You would be surprised what you could get children to do because they want to wear a tutu. It was magical!
- What are you most proud of and why?
Over the years, I have been awarded multiple gifts for community service and received many acknowledgments from various people and organizations ranging from The Mayor of Atlanta to acknowledgements from the Governor and the Legislature. However, I am most proud of the step of faith I took to take our kids to New York City to perform my original Play “Butterfly” for Off Broadway.
- Time for the naked truth: What has been your biggest failure and how did you rebound?
I never felt more like a Failure than the day I failed my Nursing State Board Examination. After all the years of study, it seemed to no avail. After several AGONIZING attempts, I FINALLY Passed the test. I remember being too afraid to open the letter so my husband opened it and read it for me. My rebounding came from having someone in my Circle who believed in me and would not let me give up on myself. I have now been a Registered Nurse for over thirty years with many years in administration.
What 3 things can you offer as practical advice for those who are struggling to face their failure and start again?
Martin: Surround yourself with positive people. Drown out the naysayers. Never stop dreaming!
What is something that you are unashamed to share with others?
Martin: I confess that many times I still lack confidence and am too often intimidated by people with overly aggressive personalities.
What was the tipping point on your journey that allowed you to become unashamed?
Martin: There’s something about being told by a Doctor that you may have Malignant Cancer of the Esophagus. “Whew”! That news will change everything about your life. Such was the case for me. After living through SIX DAYS of wondering if I was about to live or die EVERYTHING CHANGED. After finally finding out that I did not have cancer, I had a greater appreciation for life and our short time here on earth. No more time for inhibitions. Time to Live Life at its fullest. So, I wrote and Published my first Inspirational Book called “You Can Get There From Here”. Available on Amazon at bit.ly/themazebook. I have also authored several other children’s books.
In addition to writing Books I also created a Women’s Conference in 2017 called Hope & Truth. I have a list of phenomenal projects lined up including more major stage productions, the Annual Women’s Conference, a trip to the Holy Land in Jerusalem, as prep for my production called Resurrection, and finally an appearance on a National Gospel Television Network. In July, I will be starting my own Radio Show for Pat Martin Speaks called SPEAK LIFE. I am also available for Speaking engagements at www.patmartinspeaks.com. No Holds Barred!
When it comes to your faith, what have you learned the most?Martin: For with GOD, NOTHING shall be impossible
In three words or less The Father is:
Martin: MY PROVIDER!
What services do you provide for the community?
Each year, our students perform a Major Stage Production to build character and self-esteem through the performing arts. We also offer Cultural Exposure with the assistance of two other organizations called Most Valuable Kids and Broadway Atlanta which allow our students to attend Broadway Productions at no cost to the kids.
Because of your commitment, what is the greatest success story you can share?
Wow! That’s a loaded question with a two-fold answer. My first answer is that I feel like success is not measured in currency but instead it can be measured in the intangible things that are priceless. In this, I refer to the kids who came through K.I.D.D.S. Dance Project as children, labeled as “Troubled” kids but who are now responsible citizens contributing to the betterment of the communities they now live in.
My second answer is related to the overall present state of unrest and discord existing between our young people and our law enforcement. Recognizing this phenomenon and desiring to make a positive impact on it I secured a Grant for an event I created called
“COPS AND KIDS.”This event allowed the kids and cops to come together for a day of Peace and Unity. It was a tremendous success because we used our best-known secret weapons, music and basketball.
- Do you have any upcoming events, products or updates that you would like to share and how can the audience help support?
YES! We have two upcoming events where we could use support:
First, our next major stage production is called “The Music Box Ballerina” (the story of a Ballerina who didn’t want to be stuck in a box). They will perform Sunday May 27th 6:00pm at the Porter Sanford Theater in Decatur Ga. Tickets can be purchased at:
Second, we will host another “COPS AND KIDS” Saturday August 11th 9:00am to 12:00 pm at the Redan Recreation Center. There will be fun, food, basketball, music, celebrity guest, and free school supplies. VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED. If interested or to register your child email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Where can people connect with you online?
Please visit the website at www.kiddsdanceproject.com