We talk to Benjamin Martian and learn that there’s more than just Tigtone in this guy’s life.
Benjamin Martian has had a busy year. It’s been almost a year since the premiere of his pilot Tigtone had premiered on Adult Swim and since then we’ve seen a full season of the Titmouse-produced show. And while we await news on a possible second season, it’s good to see Ben is keeping busy in other ways like giving back to his community along with his wife Bianca Lemaire. In this day and age of increasing greed, especially in Hollywood, it’s both refreshing and inspiring to hear about all the good that’s still being done.
This all came to a head when earlier this week, Ben had helped Scassi Covington and her son Trezelle launch a GoFundMe so that the two can get a down payment on an apartment and pay the first month’s rent (yes, and that’s $3,000 on the low-end of a very, very expensive Los Angeles California). As of this writing, the fundraiser was a wild success and is still ongoing. But, how did Ben and his wife Bianca help change the Covington family’s life? Turns out, this isn’t the first time Ben and Bianca have helped those in need and Ben gives sound advice on how others can also give back in their communities. Read on as we asked Ben how this all went down:
John Schwarz: How did you meet the Covington family?
Benjamin Martian: We met them maybe 5-6 months ago at Agape (International Spiritual Center), it’s a spiritual center we go to occasionally. Her (Scassi’s) 9 year old son, TreZelle, instantly took to our 2 year old daughter. He’s just an incredibly bright and wonderful kid. We all exchanged numbers because we lived in the same area. We had no idea of their situation at that time.
Have you always been raised in “giving back” and if so who instilled these character traits?
Oh, I give all credit to my wife Bianca. She’s the one who really opened me up to giving and serving the community. When we met she had been doing volunteer work, which I would have never had thought of doing but I started doing it because of her. We’re all so focused on our own stuff that we forget about others. She really shifted my thinking from a more selfish mindset to a SELF-LESS mindset. Now I just really try to be the change I want to see.
I think we think change can only come from big, grand actions—but it’s actually the many small actions we do that over time can create big changes. If you do what you can for those around you, and get others to do the same, then that’s how change spreads. Like, every so often we’ll make bag lunches and drive around Hollywood handing them out to those in need. It’s like $50 for sandwich materials and a couple hours driving around. It takes nothing to do.
How did it come about the Covington family had moved into your home?
Scassi, the mother, contacted Bianca maybe 3 weeks ago for, more-or-less, someone to talk to. From their conversation Bianca found out that they had been living out of their car for the past year. We didn’t even question it–we had them move into our spare room that day. The agreement was that they would stay for about a month or so to allow her some stability while looking for a place to stay. It was our idea to do the GoFundMe campaign. She was very reluctant to go public with her situation, understandably, but sometimes you have to put yourself out there in order to receive guidance and support. And we all need that every once in a while, right?
The GoFundMe is a success, and was done so quickly, were you expecting this kind of response?
The goal was $3000 to get them 1st month’s rent and the deposit for an apartment she found. I was confident that we’d meet the goal but had no idea we’d do it in less that 24 hrs. That was shocking. What can I say? We know a lot of wonderful people! We’re just over-joyed at the amount of support.
I will say this, a lot of people who donated have said they were looking for some way to help people in need but didn’t know where to start, and that they were thankful we created this opportunity for them. It’s like I said before, a lot of people want to serve but don’t know where to start because it seems overwhelming. But it’s in the little actions that make big change. So just look into volunteer programs for whatever you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s building gardens for schools, or organizing clothing donations at a women’s shelter—hey, for your next birthday instead of going out for drinks with your friends maybe get your friends together and make sandwiches to hand out. It’s really that simple! But be warned: Doing good is addictive!