This is the power of the countless strangers behind computer screens from all over the world who decided to help a group of Brooklyn scholars.
If you’d asked me what I thought about the Internet a few months ago, I’d said it was “the Big Bad Wolf” of my generation. Over the summer, I’d read Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows, and it confirmed my worst fears. The countless hours I’d wasted surfing the Internet was definitely going to bite me in the bottom eventually. (Which, they certainly did.)
But there’s more to the Internet than silly cat videos and Seventeen Magazine. Last year, I happened to stumbled across a blog called Humans of New York (HONY). At first, it was just my daily dose of humanity, my daily reminder that despite all the unfortunate events happening worldwide that make me feel so isolated from the rest of the world, we’re all still HUMAN. And of course, they were cute, interesting and pretty to look at.
Just recently, though, this happened: A boy who HONY stopped on the streets to talk to mentioned the person who influenced him the most, his principal Mrs. Lopez, who, “when [the students] get in trouble…calls [them] to her office and explains to [them] how society was built down around [them]. And she tells [them] 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 [them] that [they] matter.”
A few days later, HONY talked to Mrs. Lopez, and together, they created a fund that would provide each incoming 6th grade class at Mott Hall Bridges Academy a chance to get out of their neighborhood and visit a new place, Harvard University.
“I want every child who enters my school to know that they can go anywhere, and that they will belong,” said Ms. Lopez.
Mott Hall Bridges Academy is a middle school located in Brownsville, Brooklyn, the neighborhood with the highest crime rate in New York City. By sending each incoming 6th grade class to Harvard, Mrs. Lopez wants to show her scholars “what it feels like to stand on the campus of one of the world’s top schools, and know that they belong. She thinks the experience will broaden their horizons and expand their idea of their own potential.”
The initial goal was just $100,000. But in a span of just four days, a total of $662,665 has been raised. That’s 663% of their original goal. That, is the power of humanity and the Internet combined. And it all started with a picture and quote from Vidal, a middle schooler, on a blog.
Want to help send these kids to Harvard? Here you go.