HONY and the rise of community

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It all started with a photo that would ultimately change and inspire one of New York’s poorest neighbourhoods; in Brownsville, New York, Brandon Stanton from the blog Humans of New York photographed Vidal Chastanet, a 13-year old student from Mott Hall Bridges Academy.

Like many of Stanton’s photos that capture the attention of many individuals, this one in particular went viral.

It was not long until Stanton created a fundraiser that surpassed its initial goal of $100,000 to a remarkable $1 million.

The initiative of thousands of individuals making the effort to donate money to an underprivileged school demonstrates how little things can make a difference.

While it may seem like contributing a small amount of money may not help, the truth is that every dollar counts.

All the money raised for Mott Hall Bridges Academy is being used to send classes on Harvard trips each year so they can realize their potential and self-worth, despite coming from a crime-ridden neighbourhood.

The amount of funds raised it not only gives several classes the opportunity to go on the Harvard trips, but it is also being used to create a summer program and a scholarship fund under Vidal’s name.

The Brownsville school has received an outpour of messages from those who made the effort to reach out.

The Humans of New York blog has demonstrated the impact it can have on a community and the growth that it can trigger.

All the attention the community has received can encourage students to believe there is more to them than the area in which they live and it can give them motivation to succeed in school.

People from all over the world are showing their kindness and sending positive thoughts and energy to a school that had goals but was lacking the means to reach them.

The money raised will significantly help Mott Hall Bridges Academy create programs that they feel will benefit the students and drive them to see themselves as leaders of the future.

Today’s society is comprised of individuals who do not realize the extent to which they can alter the lives of others, and this is a problem that should be given attention.

The school’s principal, Nadia Lopez, who has been accredited for constantly letting her students know they matter, responded to the campaign in a very uplifting and thankful manner.

She mentioned in an article for NCB News, “I think in the past couple days there’s been a dynamic shift in how we all view the world and the power in education has created this resounding need for all of us to act like humans.”

This shift she refers to is one that has made individuals immerse themselves in a cause that reflects the well-being and act of difference each person can make in the world.

While many are trying to accomplish something big, they don’t realize that life is made up of little things.

The reality is no one should ever doubt their worth or feel they don’t belong because everyone has a purpose in life no matter how big or small.

Humans of New York has really captured this by photo-blogging portraits and interviews of humans in New York and letting strangers in on a glimpse of their lives.

The case with Vidal’s photo developed into an outcome far beyond what one would have imagined. It demonstrated Mott Hall Bridges Academy’s endurance, it created strength among the Brownsville community and revealed the wholehearted support that individuals are capable of.

As philanthropist Clement Stone quotes, “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

 

 

 


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Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.