On a recent trip to a wholesale club to restock her pantry and fill her freezer long-time NAYS staff member Emmy Martinez found something unexpected while navigating the aisles that afternoon.
A special purpose for her life.
Martinez, who has spent the past 33 years at the National Alliance for Youth Sports, is stepping down as the Senior Director of Member Services to take a position with The Lord’s Place, which provides training, mentoring, employment and supportive housing to help break the cycle of homelessness in the West Palm Beach community.
“I’m happiest when I’m helping others,” says Martinez, who has been a beloved and tireless volunteer with numerous organizations through the years. “It took me awhile to realize that we are all given a gift and it’s what we choose to do with it that matters.”
It was during that shopping excursion that she passed a book in the aisle by T.D. Jakes entitled Destiny: Step into Your Purpose. While she wasn’t in search of new reading material that day – restocking food items was the mission – she was familiar with his work and intrigued by the book, so it wound up in her cart and soon marked the beginning of a new path in her life.
“I was inspired the moment I read the first page,” Martinez says. She grabbed a highlighter to begin marking passages that resonated with her, and soon there were so many that she switched to using yellow sticky notes to underscore passages that tugged at her heart.
“It opened my eyes and the more I read I realized that I had found my purpose,” she says. “If I only end up helping one person that’s still one valuable life that I have been able to help change for the better and that makes it all worthwhile.”
Martinez’s presence will be deeply missed at NAYS headquarters. Her captivating personality, wonderful sense of humor and kind heart touched NAYS staff in countless ways through the years.
“Over 33 plus years Emmy has been such a huge part of the NAYS team,” said John Engh, executive director at NAYS. “She has worked her way up from an administrative assistant to an executive with her great work ethic and desire to make our programs better and better. I speak for a bunch of people, both on staff here in West Palm Beach and literally all over the world, who have worked with Emmy over the years by saying that she will truly be missed.”
She has been an integral part of the organization’s growth from the beginning. She came on board in 1984 as the assistant to the executive director when there were just five people on staff. One month after being hired the executive director left, and she was thrown in to working with representatives from around the country as the organization began its rise to prominence. Through the years she handled a variety of key tasks, oversaw the organization’s largest department, and presented the prestigious NAYS Coach and Parent of the Year awards at the annual Youth Sports Congress, among other responsibilities.
“I am going to miss being part of a great staff and working with all the amazing organizations that are doing remarkable work for children,” she says. “I started when we had one program, so it’s been incredible to see what has been accomplished, and I’m excited to see what NAYS does in the coming years.”
There’s no doubt Emmy Martinez will make an immediate impact on the lives of those in need of a caring hand and encouraging word. The Lord’s Place is getting a special person who found her destiny.Emmy Martinez
National Alliance for Youth Sports, Inc
2050 Vista Parkway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
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