Minister Jerria Martin
Leader of: Drug Free Communities Dallas County (Selma, AL)
Guest Blogger Intro
Introducing Minister Jerria Martin– YouTube Sensation and Youth Advocate
I met Minister Jerria on the phone when a colleague put us on the same “panel presentation”. The panel turned out to be just the two of us discussing social media engagement for youth advocates. When we first started planning the talk, we had not met and had not planned the presentation. When I arrived, my slides had not been loaded and we needed some extra time to get the presentation downloaded.
Jerria to the rescue!! We planned for Jerria to start with an opener and she brought the fire with her impromptu rap! I’ve never had a presentation start with a standing ovation! It was amazing! It was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a public speaker and I’ll never forget it.
What’s Minister Jerria’s Wellness Grind?
Following our presentation, I wanted to know more about this woman who was able to hype up the audience better than any hype-man I’ve ever seen. I have been fortunate to start a friendship with Minister Jerria and have gotten to know how blessed the world is for her many talents.
Minister Jerria has brought an innovative approach to engaging youth as the leader of the Drug Free Communities Coalition in Selma, Alabama. The Junior Hope Dealers are a group of young people who have gone viral several times with their music and dancing videos about substance use prevention and building hope in the community.
Motivating others for social change is hard work. Two years after I met Jerria and she is still teaching me important lessons about engaging local stakeholders. I asked Minister Jerria to share her wellness recipe with you and her story of how she continues to work on herself while helping make her community safer and healthier.
Are you be-you-tiful? Consider Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume’s quote, “Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.” If this logic resonates with you as much as it does with me, then it’s safe to say, in order to acknowledge and appreciate the beauty in others, we must first be able to recognize the beauty in ourselves. We must not only acknowledge it, but embrace it, nurture it, live it, unapologetically. We must be be-you-tiful!
A be-you-tiful friend of mine posed the question, “If you can’t love yourself, how you gonna love someone else?” 99.9 percent of my days are spent loving others, encouraging others, bringing hope to others, as both a minister and civic leader. I’ve learned that when leading a lifestyle that’s so demanding of my positive energy, it’s imperative that I take the time to love, encourage, and re-energize myself, so that I can continue spreading joy to the kids who need me most. As a minister, I look to God to refill the void left after a long day of pouring myself into others. Thus, a huge part of my spiritual wellness grind is “nature prayer.”
Growing up, my prayer life was extremely boring and unfulfilling, to say the least. I started as an inquisitive toddler, kneeling next to my mother beside her bed, repeating after her as she recited her “special” prayer for me. I spent my adolescent years praying the same ole monotonous prayers, so much so that by the time I was a teenager, praying became something I dreaded doing. I would roll out of bed just as I remembered that I’d forgotten to do my spiritual duty, fall to my knees mumbling, “Jesus wept… God bless America,” and say amen by the time my head hit the pillow. However, all of this changed for me in 2007, when I received my calling into the ministry, outside, underneath the spectacular spring sun, praying hand in hand with former President Clinton. It was then that I discovered the joy of outdoor worship.
Chilling in Nature
Since then, I think I’ve mastered the art of “chilling”in nature with God. Sometimes it’s simply sitting outside at night in silence, in admiration of the midnight sky, counting my blessings as I count the stars, connecting, recharging, emptying out so that I may be filled. Other times I’m up praising and worshipping in sync with nature as the cool wind blows away my worries, the trees are dancing with me, and the birds and crickets chirp along to the music of my soul..it is beautiful! It is be-YOU-tiful! It’s my most favorite way to grind spiritually.
There’s something about nature that undeniably feels like home. I suppose that’s why one of my favorite workout spots is our local cemetery. Yes, it is a little weird! Yes, my grandparents are buried there, and no, I would never have the nerve to jog there after dark. However, I assure you, in the daytime, it is beautiful! I imagine a hallway in one of heaven’s most fabulous mansions looking similar. There’s a sea of the brightest green vegetation, surrounded by the most colorful flowers, secreting the most alluring and immortal scents. It’s such a blessing to receive a soothing natural aroma therapy session during an evening jog after work.
There’s nothing like the great outdoors! Whenever I travel, the first thing I do is look for the most beautiful natural scenes where I can unplug, have fun, let loose, and be inspired by God and all of her beauty! I believe that nature is a reflection of God. Nature is bold, daring, courageous, powerful, yet pleasant, gentle, and calming…it’s be-you-tiful, just like me…just like you!
Follow the Drug Free Communities Dallas County YouTube for more
Thank you Minister Martin for your contribution to the Wellness Grind community and for all the hard work you do for youth and the community.
Featured Blogger Bio:
Jerria CurDaun Martin is a native of Selma Alabama. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in English from Stillman College in 2010 and is also a 2009 graduate of the Leading Edge Institute of Alabama. he received the Dr. Martin L. King Realizing the Dream “Mountain Top Award” in 2010 from the University of Alabama, Shelton State Community College and Stillman College in her senior year at Stillman College. Jerria is a 2013 graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey where she received a Master of Divinity. Jerria was the first African-American woman elected SGA president of Princeton’s Theological Seminary. She is also the first female and youngest candidate for Mayor in Selma AL’s history.