Monday, June 15, 2015

Fabian Martinez Memorial Fund To Help Kids Find Their Wings

Fabian Gras Martinez
It has been said that theatre gives you wings and perhaps no one understood that better than Fabian Gras Martinez, who had seen firsthand the power live theatre had on her own three daughters and who later dedicated so much of her time and energy and talents to bringing theatre to countless other children.

It is only fitting that a new memorial fund has been established in Fabian’s name that will provide an opportunity to underprivileged children to also receive their wings through participation in Slidell Little Theatre’s renowned youth program -- the Young Actors Theater of Slidell, or YATS. 

“She always felt that theatre is the perfect place for a child to learn about life in the world,” said her husband, Fred Martinez. “Honesty, responsibility, commitment, respect, courage, preparedness, trust, humility and delay of gratification are all things that are developed in theatre. She also felt that the children are the future of the organization.”

It was in the late ’90s when the Martinez girls were first bitten by the theater bug after participating in the Angels Academy, at that time under the direction Rita Stockstill-O’Sullivan. Determined to continue feeding the girls’ newfound artistic expression, Fabian brought the family to Slidell Little Theatre, including her recalcitrant husband, and plowed headfirst into various stage productions and, of course, the YATS program.

Fabian quickly became an integral member of the YATS administrative structure and along with Dayle McDonough, the YATS program grew in size and reputation as a premier kids’ theatre. It wasn’t long before Fabian concluded that the program needed to expand to include even younger children, kids as young as four, and thus the mini-YATS program was born.

Fabian passed away unexpectedly on October 3, 2014. The Memorial Fund was started shortly thereafter as a tribute to Fabian and as testimony of her love for and generosity to our young people.

“Fabian was driven by her love for children,” said Fred Martinez. “Our home was a haven for countless children who needed somewhere to go, whether it was an hour a day a week or longer. She was a nurturer who mastered the ability to offer wisdom, love and support to the children of family members, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and strangers.”

The Fabian Gras Martinez Memorial Scholarship Fund is currently accepting donations to help cover YATS tuition costs for economically disadvantaged children. All levels of contribution are appreciated. The Fund and applications will be administered through the YATS program and overseen by the Slidell Little Theatre Board of Directors.

Click here to be directed to an online donation page for the Fabian Gras Martinez Memorial Scholarship Fund.

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