To Top

Meet Trailblazer Sandra Ofili

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandra Ofili.

Sandra, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Well for starters, I can definitely say that I did not get to where I am today without education and a loving support group of family and friends that also included some educators.  After graduating from high school, I went to The University of West Georgia for my bachelors and master’s degree in secondary education in mathematics and then continued my education at Liberty University where I obtained my specialist degree in curriculum and instruction. I am a high school math teacher and have been teaching since 2007.  In addition to teaching I started my fitness blog, Motivating Meltdowns, in 2017. Although education has been the main focus throughout my life, I’ve always felt like I’ve been blessed with the gift to motivate, inspire, and teach which was part of the reason why I started my fitness blog. I workout regularly to release stress, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and also because I love to remain active. When I noticed that I could motivate people to find ways to be active, I decided to start a fitness blog that would share ideas and different ways to workout and exercise regardless of whether you had the convenience to go to the gym or not. Although I started my fitness blog with the intent to motivate, I have also used it as a small platform for my first love which is DANCE. I’ve been dancing since the age of 3 and I’ve been choreographing since I was in high school. In addition to my workout videos on my IG page and website, I also post some dance videos to share creativity and encourage the idea that you can remain active in other ways besides your traditional workouts that most would do in the gym. Thus far, my dancing has given me some opportunities that I never anticipated. I’ve had a number of people message me about choreographing a dance for their wedding, dance team, dance classes, new music artist, etc. some have even been paid opportunities. Overall, I feel blessed with the opportunity to share the gift that God blessed me with. It most certainly solidifies my purpose in life.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My journey to get to where I am in life today most definitely has not been a smooth road. A couple of setbacks I experienced in my life forced me into uncomfortable environments that later on caused change. For example, 2014 was one of the hardest years in my life that truly taught me a lot in my adulthood. The year started off with me losing one of my really close friends to death, and we were all getting ready for his wedding that was in two months at the time. Also within the first two weeks of January, the pipes busted in the building of my apartment complex and flooded my entire apartment unit. I lost everything and had to live in a hotel for a while until they were able to put me into another apartment unit. While still preparing for the funeral of my close friend and living in a hotel, I still had to go to work and resume to all the things that were going on in my life.

A month later, I tore my ACL at a dance audition which was the first injury I’ve ever had in my entire life. Another dance contestant slammed her knee into mine when we both came down from a high jump in the routine. Within the same month of my surgery, one of my favorite students was involved in a tragic car accident that took the life of another student and paralyzed him from the neck down. All of these events occurred within the months of January through April and I just felt like I was done. Having to rebuild and start all over with a place to live, my body recovering from surgery, and even with the idea of not having my friend here on earth anymore was very hard and I truly thought that I couldn’t do it. I was so used to dancing to make myself happy during hard times and the fact that I couldn’t do that or at least work out to help release stress had me fall right back into depression. It took me a while to recover, but I was able to pull myself out from under a rock thanks to the support system of my family and friends that I have in my life.

The advice I would give young women is to take the hardships that happen in your life and use them as tools to equip you for the next chapter in your life. God will never give you more than what you can bare and sometimes we have to be “still” to really capture what lessons we are supposed to be learning in life. Everybody’s journey in life looks different and I think when you have a better understanding of that, it helps to push through the hard times and embrace the good moments.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Motivating Meltdowns – what should we know?
Motivating Meltdowns is an extra resource that can be used to motivate you to move, remain active, and shed some pounds.  Through this outlet of motivating people to workout, I also provide some inspiration by sharing my love for dance.  One of the things that keeps me inspired and also makes me very proud every year is when I see my young ladies and gentlemen perform the routines I taught them over a period of time on stage.  Witnessing their growth and charisma along the way melts my heart and helps me maintain the drive and motivation to continue teaching dance. Most of my dancers start off with the eagerness to dance and express themselves, and to see them mold into better dancers as well as mature young adults is priceless. Especially when the type of dancing I teach them is out of their element and not something they are used to. I think what sets me apart from others when operating in my craft is my personality and tenacity for every avenue of my life. I have a very ecstatic and bubbly personality that most people are drawn to. I know some may say “where does she get all this energy from?” but my personality stems from the idea that happiness doesn’t grow in an environment of negativity. You cannot build success if you are internally in a toxic environment.

At work, I put in the extra determination to teach my kids in a way that is quite unusual in a traditional math classroom. I incorporate cheers, Dance, and technology to help my students understand the concepts that are taught in my class. I also give 110% dedication to dancing and performing as well as creating. I love to express myself in creative ways and I think what kind of sets me apart from most people is that I do it in a way that is usually different from the norm. Even in my workouts!

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Yes, my childhood experiences definitely molded my success in life. I was raised in a household with two Nigerian parents who were very strict and traditional in more ways than one. Although I wasn’t raised with the best support in my eagerness to pursue dance, my parents instilled certain qualities and characteristics that have given me the foundation to be successful and independent in life. I learned how to be a hard worker and to never give up no matter how many times you fail from my father. He was the epitome of “push your emotions to the side and get the job done!”  He taught me the importance of finding the resources you need to help you get closer to your goal, understand that it may not come easy, and try over and over again until you reach your accomplishments. Growing up in a big family, I didn’t always get what I wanted and with one parent working most of the time since my mom fell sick with breast cancer, money was pretty tight most of the time growing up. We learned at an early age to work for whatever we wanted. Watching my mom beat cancer and still doing what she had to do to raise all four of her kids taught me that there are no excuses in life when it comes to putting in the necessary amount of work to get the results you want.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Issa Nigerian

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in