Fred Martin, founder and president of Urban Entertainment Institute (UEI), believes dreams can come true as long as you believe in yourself and never, ever give up. UEI is a free after-school arts program that offers vocal, piano, dance and art lessons and sound recording engineering lessons to kids, many of whom are from the inner city and single-parent and foster homes. "This place is not just about the actual singing and dancing. We give them a way out. We build up their self-respect, and once you do that, you don't have to worry about them making wrong choices," Fred says. "When you see a kid who was headed down a path to destruction, and years later, they come back and they've become what they wanted to become, there is not a word in the dictionary that can express the feeling that you get. And helping them, I couldn't even tell you how it makes me feel."
When Fred appeared on the Dr. Phil episode, "The Dr. Phil Foundation: Helping Kids," Dr. Phil presented him with a check from The Dr. Phil Foundation to buy the supplies and instruments he needed to continue helping the kids create music. Dr. Phil also encouraged other communities to start similar programs.Watch Dr. Phil’s surprise for Fred!
With the money, Fred was able to pay his instructors and build a new office, and they started a guitar and drum class. After the show, UEI received thousands of e-mails and phone calls from people who were also inspired to help.
UEI's program changed the life of 16-year-old DeDe, who was withdrawn before participating in the program. "I was pretty depressed. Nothing motivated me. I had just lost my father in a motorcycle accident. It was heartbreaking, and it just left me feeling empty," DeDe shared. "Fred helped me find who I am. Joy started coming back. UEI saved my life." DeDe currently takes guitar lessons through the program and writes songs. She dreams of graduating from college, a first for her family.
When Fred appeared on the Dr. Phil episode "Against All Odds," The Dr. Phil Foundation made an additional donation to UEI to help with instruments, building repairs and the hiring of mentors.