It all started with one meet and greet…
By Sheila Jones
It’s About Making Someone Else’s Dream Come True – (Maybe It Was You)
I still remember what a thrill it was to meet Martina for the first time.
Like so many, I had been a fan of hers for years. After that first time, I never dreamed I’d meet her again, much less get to work for her one day or have this amazing opportunity we call Team Martina.
But there is something that has given me an even bigger thrill than meeting Martina.
And that is being able to help other fans, or someone that needs some encouragement, have THEIR dreams come true.
(Maybe you are someone that got to meet Martina through our team)
Some of the most happy moments are the occasional opportunities I have gotten, as the director of Team Martina, to help fulfill someone else’s wish to meet Martina, have a special experience or volunteer alongside her helping a good cause.
One of my most supremely happy experiences is helping someone that needs a lift or a little cheer. I can’t always give someone the opportunity to meet Martina in person (as a famous country music star, she’s an incredibly busy lady) , but Team Martina has had special opportunities over the last few years just to treat someone to a seat at one of Martina’s shows and have the incredible experience of hearing her sing.
(In March of this year we all met at a center for homeless teens in New Jersey and we, along with Martina, got to give all the kids in the shelter tickets to her concert. For some of them it was the first concert they’d ever been to.)
I remember the first time I had the opportunity to give a cancer patient a seat at one of Martina’s shows. I just went to the box office and bought an extra ticket. When I saw what a bright spot it was in this chemo patient’s day or week or month, I had no idea why I hadn’t thought of doing it sooner.
Our volunteer Jen from TX, for her awesome fundraising, won a meeting with Martina backstage in West Virginia last year. She had never met Martina before. She chose to share her meet and greet with a cancer patient in attendance at the event. Someone she had never even met before.
Team Martina is my dream come true – the dream to do something to help the world with my favorite country music star of all time … and share that with a bunch of other fans and special people.
That’s what Team Martina is all about. That’s why we’ve been working on it for over three years to share it with you.
It’s actually beyond anything I ever dreamed.
What Is Team Martina Really?? How Do I…?
People often ask me what Team Martina is, what it’s about, and how to get involved.
The first thing I tell them is… it’s about YOU. It’s what you make of it.
But it’s not about you.
Making sense yet?
Follow with me for a minute…
First of all… we are not a fan club. We are a volunteer charity organization that gives Martina and her fans the awesome opportunity to occasionally work together to help good causes. And we have the incredible honor of being Martina’s charity organization!
It’s her’s… she gave us shirts to wear with her name on them and a link to Team Martina on her website at MartinaMcBride.com.
Martina helps us fundraise for good causes and she provides us with fun filled events each year like the opportunity to join in one of her private sound checks.
(With one sound check we raised over $40,000 for a breast cancer grant)
She also personally volunteers with us at shelters and hospitals at different times through the year when her tour schedule allows.
She is very closely involved with what we do.
She is an incredible lady doing something wonderful and unique with her fans to make the world better!
But again… we are not a fan club where you get meet and greets at scheduled times during the year, and cool things like special pre-sale tickets, buy merchandise, etc. (Martina already has a very AWESOME fan club that does all that and more. Check it out and join at Martina McBride.com. I’ve been a member for years and I LOVE it).
Being a part of Team Martina is about you, the fans. We started it to give you, her fans, a unique way to interact with each other, and sometimes with Martina, to empower you to do good things in the world, to help people, on her tour or in your own home town.
Fans volunteer for the team by going to our website at TeamMartina.com and clicking on the ‘Join Us’ link to start receiving our news. Then they can pick and choose from in person events and projects they’d like to join throughout the year. There are also some virtual events they can join online and work on in their own home towns.
Right now lots of fans are working on a project called Coffee For A Cure where they are asking their local Starbucks to donate $1 per bag of coffee sold on Oct 24 to the Martina McBride Breast Cancer Research Grant. Wow!
Some fans even start their own volunteer projects to help causes near to their hearts and other fans join in. Pretty cool, right?!!
(Last Christmas, Martina’s fans stuffed over 1000 Christmas stockings full of candy, books, socks, etc for cancer patients and delivered them in 12 cities)
That’s what Martina told me she loves best about this… that people are empowered by her team to help good causes that are special to them in her name, and on their own and together, around the country and the world.
That’s pretty AWESOME (Really).
How About Some Swag? What Stuff Do I Get?
(Oh My…You Get So Much More Than That)
We do have some really cool shirts that we give out at our events (a Sirius XM announcer even mentioned on the radio our “signature pink and black shirts”… so I guess they’ve become pretty well known! LOL!).
However, typically, you won’t receive a lot of swag or prizes when volunteering with our team because we basically concentrate our giving on helping other people that need it (I mean who really needs another drink koozie… right?)
Many of our volunteers actually collect gifts to give out to others. I guess the most awesome of all Team Martina “swag” are the gifts we give away!
(One year our team gave hand made winter hats to chemo patients at Vanderbilt Hospital)
Here are few things that volunteers emailed me and told me they got:
"I so look forward to our volunteer projects. I don’t have family in the area and this is like a family get together for me. I’m just glad I get to to do this stuff."
"I love being a part of this. I can’t wait until we can get together again."
It’s Not About You. It’s Not About Me.
(It’s About Us. And It’s About Them)
I have to admit sometimes certain team members do get special treatment.
But it may not be in the way you think…
Our teammate and volunteer Taira did tremendous amounts of work for our team.
And then she experienced an unspeakable tragedy. She got cancer and passed away.
In the time that she was sick, our team rallied around her and her family. Volunteers from Pennsylvania had food delivered to her home in Tennessee.
Hundreds of people made these photos to help her feel their love from around the country and the world. (Someone anonymously donated money to her medical care every time someone new posted a homemade sign)
Seriously… this was amazing!!
There were countless acts of random kindness performed over the course of a year to comfort her and her family. It was one of the most special things I’ve ever witnessed in my life.
We Loved Them Through It. I Love You Through It
Lots of you tell me your stories. You tell me about the things you have been through in your life. I listen to everyone. I listen to what you love and enjoy. I listen to what it is that you don’t like. And I try to understand a lot of the reasons for the how and why you do things.
I listen to Martina also and to what she likes and what works for her in her life.
Many of the things we work on for the team are done with ALL of us in mind… listening to all of your stories and feelings.
But the real work that Team Martina does is ultimately about something much much bigger than just us.
It’s about all the other lives around the world that we have the power to touch and change… by working together through Martina’s music.
This year, together, we have supplied music instruments to kids at an orphanage in Central America. And it is life changing for them.
We Don’t Do Drama
There’s social media and reality TV and the whole rest of the world out there for drama. We don’t do drama here.
(Ok we have a little dramatic good natured fun with each other from time to time)
On this team we’ve worked to make a special place for people to come and volunteer and be comfortable. I work to meet people where they are with whatever they are comfortable with.
If you don’t like to fundraise or feel like you’re not good at it, there are other types of hands on, do-good projects that we participate in.
We don’t compete and we don’t exclude anyone. There’s already lots of competition in the world. The power of Team Martina is in all of us working together.
On some of our projects you may get to meet Martina one day and volunteer along side her. On other projects it’s just us… all working together to do something amazing.
And it feels amazing.
It’s about so much more than a meet and greet.
I’m always listening. Feel free to send questions or feedback to Sheila@TeamMartina.com Learn more about us at TeamMartina.com