‘Humans of New York’ Is Sending Kids to Harvard with a Little Help from 36,000 Friends

Humans of New York, more popularly called “HONY”, is probably the most popular Facebook page at the moment with nearly 12 million fans including me. By time you get there, I’m sure it’ll be beyond that. It was started by a talented young photographer, Brandon Stanton in the summer of 2010. Flash-forward 4 years later, it’s grown into a giant influential platform offering glimpses into the lives of everyday New Yorkers.

Brandon encountered a remarkable student named Vidal of the Mott Hall Bridges Academy, Brownsville. He’s asked the question, “Who’s influenced you the most in your life?” Vidal replies, “My principal, Ms. Lopez.” With that honest and simple response, Brandon looks more into the story of Ms. Lopez (aka Superwoman) and the school. She’s done a spectacular job in one of the toughest neighbourhoods in New York with little resources.

From one interview to the next with teachers and students offering their own stories, we’re allowed to see more into this school’s DNA. People who give without wanting anything in return and children who dream of things a lot of us take for granted, like feeling safe to walk outside your home. Brandon sees an opportunity to leverage HONY’s platform and rightfully so. Between him and Ms. Lopez they realise the best help that could be given to the school would be funds to support field trips to Harvard University. In the words of Ms. Lopez, “I want my scholars to know that there is not a single place they don’t belong.” Those are words to live by.

Just five days ago Brandon started a campaign dubbed “Let’s Send Kids to Harvard” to raise USD 100,000 on Indiegogo. To date they’ve raised over one million dollars. I received an email alert from Indiegogo telling me this campaign is “now the largest Indiegogo Life fundraiser ever!” This shows social media is perhaps the most powerful platform in the 21st century to start a movement. The best part, Mott Hall Bridges Academy has funds to send all its students on field trips to Harvard. They’ve even created the Vidal Scholarship Fund aptly named after the young man who first shared the story of his principal without reservation. He’ll be the first recipient too.

Education is the best investment you’ll ever make. There’s still time to lend your support to this campaign. Click here to donate.

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