Humans of New York is one of the Internet’s runaway success stories, and creator Brandon Stanton is intent on giving back to the people who’ve helped his blog become what it is today.
For his latest project, Stanton says he was inspired by a picture of a student from the Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a middle school in Brownsville, one of Brooklyn’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods.
The student, Vidal, identified his principal, Nadia Lopez, as the most influential person in his life. “When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us,” he told Stanton. “She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”
Stanton launched a crowd fund campaign Thursday inspired by Lopez, with the goal of $100,000, which would go towards organizing trips for Mott Hall Bridges students to visit Harvard. As Stanton wrote, “Since many of her scholars have never left New York, [Lopez] wants them to know what it feels like to stand on the campus of one of the world’s top schools, and know that they belong.”
It took 45 minutes to raise the $100,000, so Stanton quickly revised the goals of the campaign, updating the site to reflect the needs of the students at Mott Hall. Lopez noted that Mott Hall was in need of a summer program, writing that “Learning stops during the summer for my scholars. We have what is called a ‘summer slide.’ My scholars can’t even go outside. It’s too dangerous.”
Currently, the campaign has raised over $700,000. To donate, you can click here – the campaign is scheduled to run for another 11 days.