In early January, Brandon Stanton, a NY blogger, started a crowfunding campaign for a Brooklyn school that wanted to send its students to visit Harvard to show them that no college was beyond their reach. The campaign was an instant hit. The initial goal was $100,000, but within days people donated more than $1 million.
Nadia L. Lopez, the founder and principal of the Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, said that her school could only raise a few hundred dollars a year from parents’ contributions compared to other wealthier schools that usually collect hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
The Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville is a public middle school that struggles to educated low-income children from one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City. The heart and soul of the school is Ms. Lopez, who continuously encourages her students to do more with their lives.
Nadia L. Lopez described the motto of her school:
I tell my scholars they matter.”
The fundraising campaign for the school started in January after an encounter between Vidal Chastanet, 13, one of the school’s students, and Mr. Stanton.
The blogger said that on that day he was wandering about Brownsville looking for a new subject for his blog.
He soon saw and took a picture of Vidal, who was heading home. He also asked the child who played the most inspirational role in his life. Vidal quickly replied that his role model was Ms. Lopez, who was like a second mother to him. He was very impressed that she would stay and talk to each kid and encourage him/her to be an example for others, rather than suspending them for misbehaving.
Mr. Stanton then had an idea for a new subject on his blog. He thought that such a young boy giving credit to his teacher would resonate with other people since it touched his heart, too.
Soon afterwards, Mr. Stanton received an invitation to the school to learn more about its goals, students, and staff. The principal explained that her school wanted more for those children than receiving social service or enrolling in a Brooklyn gang.
The school also often takes students to visit local colleges, but the Harvard trip seemed more inspirational. However, they needed nearly $100,000 to get there.
So, Mr. Stanton initiated a fund-raising campaign for the school on a crowdfunding platform called Indiegogo Life. Within days the campaign received $1 million in funding, and the money kept coming.
When hearing that they will visit Harvard, students were over thrilled with the idea.
It will inspire me a lot. Every day, Ms. Lopez tells me, ‘You’re a good scholar,’ and I can be something in life if I have my mind set on it,”
said Isaiah Carrington, 14, one of the Mott Hall Bridges Academy’s students.
Image Source: Learnu.org