Article by Jacquelyn Desjardins | esPResso Committee Member
New York photographer Brandon Stanton recently facilitated an extraordinary change in a rather ordinary neighborhood named Brownsville, Brooklyn.
As owner and photographer of the popular blog, Humans of New York, he came across the intriguing Mott Hall Bridges Academy during his travels of the city. It began with a picture of a young man named Vidal who was asked to describe the most influential person in his life. He chose his principal and described how she attempts to make each student in the school feel like they matter.
Stanton then interviewed the principal, Nadia Lopez, who described her idea to bring sixth-grade classes to Harvard University in order to show them what they could earn if they put forward the effort. However, it was costly, and the poor district was beginning to struggle.
The 12-million strong audience of Humans of New York immediately rallied to support the cause. Many began to share the profiles of different students, Vidal and Lopez across social media, along with a link attached to a website where users could help raise money for the school. In less than 45 minutes, more than $100,000 was raised, according to CNN. Vidal, Stanton and Lopez were featured on many national talk shows and even met with President Obama to discuss their school and ideas.
Additional funds are currently being placed in a scholarship for future trips and students to utilize for college. The first recipient of the scholarship will be Vidal himself. The viral aspect of the campaign combined with the already substantial audience of Humans of New York combined to create an extremely successful fundraising effort, allowing the struggling school to achieve its goals and continue to instill hope in a young generation.