Trolls. Bullies. Critics. This is what we are used to seeing online on a regular basis. People tend to hide behind the computer screen and feel empowered to knock one another down a peg or two. But every once in a while, we get a wonderful reminder that people are good at heart and truly can have the best intentions.
A great example of this is the recent campaign by Humans of New York (my favorite blog, Facebook page and Instagram feed hands down) to raise $100,000 to help kids at an underprivileged middle school in New York City. Mott Hall Bridges Academy is located in Brownsville, Brooklyn, which is one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York, snapped a photo on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of a young man named Vidal, who spoke of his school’s principal when asked who influenced him.
This one photo and its comments compelled Stanton to meet with Mott Hall’s principal and see what he could do to help the school and its mission. Stanton decided to launch a fundraiser to give the school’s scholars (they are not called students) the experience to see Harvard’s campus so they would know what exists outside of Brownsville. His goal: raise $100,000 in two weeks. He raised $100,000 in a matter of a few hours. Two weeks later, more than $1.2 million has been raised. These funds will not only make the Harvard field trip a permanent part of the school’s curriculum, but will also allow the school to start a summer program and establish a scholarship to help send its scholars to college.
While that amount is impressive itself, what’s most remarkable is the outpouring of support, kind words and thoughtful actions that are taking place from a community that has rallied together across the globe. The school’s principal is getting requests for volunteer opportunities, people are sending flowers and other trinkets to the school to show its scholars and teachers that people around the world think they matter, and everyone is coming together to share words of hope across social media. It’s moments and stories like this that make you realize the world really is full of wonderful, amazing humans and we all matter.
To learn more about Humans of New York and its efforts for Mott Hall Bridges Academy, I encourage you to read the recent New York Times piece and watch the Good Morning America segment.