Tulsa teaching assistant sets goal to buy shoes for entire school

TULSA -- A first-year teaching assistant at Sequoyah Elementary who has set a goal to buy every student in the school a new pair of shoes has now raised more than $15-thousand. 

Bethany Martin said she wanted to do something big to help others to celebrate her upcoming birthday.

This year, she has made acts of kindness a priority. She said she has sent someone a letter every day this year and brought flowers to law enforcement to show her appreciation. 

The answer to her next big kind gesture was right under her nose. 

"There was a little boy in one of my classes whose shoe completely ripped apart and I had to duct tape it together and I asked him if there was any other shoes that he had at home that he could wear and he said he did not have any that fit," Martin said. 

This was not the first time Martin noticed the problem with student's shoes at the Title I school.

"At the beginning of the school year, there was a little girl and her shoes... they were her only pair," Martin described. "I saw that she wore them every day and eventually her toes just were sticking through them...I asked the teacher and I asked the parents if it would be O.K. if I went out and bought her a pair of shoes. I did that over the weekend and I was able to give them to her on Monday."

The first year teaching assistant set a goal to provide all 80 kindergarten students with a new pair of shoes for Christmas.

"It was such a big goal at first that I almost didn't even put it out there for anyone to know about it," Martin said. "I thought it was going to be impossible to reach." 

But since she decided to do it, Martin hit the ground running. She recently brought a shoe measuring chart to school and has been asking the students their favorite color to choose what kind of shoes to buy for each child. 

"It will open the door for their families to spend their money on toys and Christmas presents rather than having to worry about having to provide basic needs for their children," Martin said. 

Her GoFundMe page initially raised more than $1,000 in three days. Because of the amazing response, Martin expanded her goal to buy shoes for all 600 children in the school. Now she's raised more than $15k since the 2 Works for You story aired. 

"The fact that there has been so many strangers that I will never meet donating to a kid that they will never meet is just the most amazing feeling," Martin said with tears in her eyes. 

She said she did not expect to do something so grand her first year in the classroom, but she knows she will be on cloud nine when she see the precious kids' smiling faces wearing their new shoes. 

"I want to leave a legacy of generosity and I want to inspire others to be generous as well.

Click here to help Martin reach beyond her goal. 

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