Retired teacher praised for her passion to help at-risk children

OKLAHOMA CITY - Margie Tinsley has an unparalleled passion for children.

She retired after a 25-year teaching career, but because she missed the children so much, she became a tutor and volunteer for Whiz Kids.

“They are active little kids, boy. They come in and away they go. When they read, they wiggle. They're happy and it shows all over their whole body," Margie told News 4.

To get the "at-risk" kids more excited about reading, Margie began scouring sales for gently used toys. Her garage is filled, floor to ceiling, with prizes for her treasure chest.

When the kids reach reading milestones, they are rewarded with a toy, purchased and refurbished by Margie and her husband.

"They get so excited. You can't imagine how excited they get," she said.

It is her passion, love and boundless energy that inspired fellow volunteer, Lisa Rice, to nominate Margie for Pay It 4Ward.

"She's been going and finding secondhand toys and cleaning them up, and all the stuff she does, just out of the goodness of her heart. I felt she would be a good candidate for Pay It 4Ward," Rice said.

Michelle Fox with First Fidelity Bank helped with our surprise.

"I'm so excited to be part of recognizing Margie for the important work she's doing for at-risk youth. And on behalf of First Fidelity, here's $400," Fox said.

We surprised Margie recently at Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church.

Through tears, she told us, “Oh my gosh. Thank you! I will do that and pay it forward to these kids. But I get so much out of it, from doing it. It makes me weepy because this, I get so much out of it."

Margie said she intends to invest every penny back into the children and her unique toy ministry.

“I feel good doing what I do and the Lord has been good to me and allowed me the health at my age. Someone said, 'You look OK...for your age,' but He has been very good to me. And I want to return it because that's what He wants us to do," Margie said.

Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.