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(Awesome) Humans of New York

February 10th, 2015

Photo credit: Humans of New York

The news is often about huge, extraordinary events, but sometimes the most meaningful stories come from a quick, chance meeting.

A 28-year old photographer named Brandon Stanton regularly walks the streets of New York City, takes people’s photos, and has a quick conversation with them. He then posts it on his blog and Facebook page called Humans of New York .

A few weeks ago he took a photo of an 8th grader named Vidal. Mr. Stanton asked him who has most influenced him and he said it was his school principal, Mrs. Lopez.

Mr. Stanton thought this was an interesting answer, especially coming from a high-crime and “economically disadvantaged” area of New York, so he asked why.

This was their exchange:

Vidal on the Humans of New York blog. Photo credit Brandon Stanton/Humans of New York

Mr. Stanton’s post got over a million “likes” on Facebook. There was something about it that readers really connected with, specifically the part where “she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”

In the meantime, Mrs. Lopez had been considering quitting her job because she didn’t know she was making a difference in her students’ lives.

Mr. Stanton and Mrs. Lopez wanted to make something even bigger happen than just Facebook likes so they started a fundraiser to help Mrs. Lopez’s school … and they raised over one million dollars!!!

Her students (she calls them “scholars”), and students for many years to come, will be able to visit Harvard University … with the hopes that they’ll aim high.

Mrs. Lopez said the problem isn’t that her students aren’t smart enough, it’s that their surroundings make it difficult for them to feel like they deserve to succeed.  She believes that once they realize they too deserve to succeed (that they matter), then learning would come more easily.

Their story even inspired President Obama who invited them to the White House!!

The interview is a little tough to hear, but worth the effort.

Click here for Good Morning America’s story on this .

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