Courtney Maginnis, the community field coordinator at Boston's Tobin School, quickly fired off a tweet while at the gym on Tuesday night. It was a longshot she would get a reply, but it was a shot worth taking. A few minutes later when a reply came through, she was so shocked she nearly fell off her treadmill.
Martellus Bennett had not only responded to her plea for help fundraising to pay for new books for Boston's Tobin School, he donated enough for the school to nearly reach its goal.
This unique journey for the Tobin School began in September when the School Parent Council noted a need for grade level appropriate books. They set a goal of raising $3,000, which would fund the necessary books for kindergarten to eighth grade. The fundraising hit a standstill at around $500, Courtney said, and the school began brainstorming ways to reach the goal.
That's when the council had an idea.
Marty spent an afternoon at Tobin in November reading his first children's book, "Hey A.J. It's Saturday!" to a couple of classrooms, and Courtney said Marty's passion for encouraging reading was clear and infectious.
"He was scheduled to be here for 20 minutes and he was here almost an hour and a half. He was absolutely amazing," Courtney said.
With this in mind, the School Parent Council encouraged her to send him a tweet. Best case scenario, they thought he might retweet the request and a few of his generous followers might chip in. Instead, Marty responded with a simple tweet, writing "Send me the link. I'll hook it up."
And he did. His donation left all but $5, which another donor took care of not long after.
"I was completely elated because $2,500 dollars to us is like a million dollars. It's a lot of money for our kids. I immediately just thought about their reaction and having it come from him just means that much more," Courtney said. "He really is a part of our community now, and the kids just idolize him and look up to him. To have him come in be the one to save the day for us just made it that much more amazing."
Reaching the goal will allow the school to replenish its library with new books for each grade level that will hopefully help Tobin's students foster a love of reading. Not only will the students have the tools to do this now, they will have a friend and role model to look up to when it comes to challenging themselves in school and with reading.
"The ultimate goal, and Marty said this himself, we want to interest children in becoming lifelong readers, but not only lifelong readers but lifelong learners," Courtney said. "He prides himself on being a lifelong learner, and he talked to our kids about that. He said you should wake up and live everyday as if it's a dream, and so our kids really hear that and now they're living it."