The Impact of One Voice

There is this group on Facebook. It is called Humans of New York (Seriously check it out!) I have been following this page for a while and the stories are very touching. This is the description of the page: (taken straight from the Facebook Page)

Hey there. My name is Brandon and I began Humans of New York in the summer of 2010, shortly after leaving my job in Finance. (OK, I actually got fired.) I started HONY because I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. Somewhere along the way, I began to interview my subjects in addition to photographing them. And alongside their portraits, I’d include quotes and short stories from their lives.

Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog. HONY now has over ten million followers on social media, and provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City.

So many of the stories are so incredibly touching and give a glimpse of the pain, hurt, happiness, joy etc that are in people’s life stories that we don’t often see. But the other day, there was a story that really touched me. And I want to share it here with you guys.

It started with a photo of a young boy. Brandon asked him who had influenced him the most in his life. This young boy told of his principal. How she tells her students what they are capable of. Instead of suspending them, she explains that each time one of them fails out a new jail cell is built.

A few days later, Brandon was able to meet with this boys principal, Ms. Lopaz. She told him about how the students in her school are expected by society to fail. She calls her students, scholars. Their school color is purple, because it’s the color of royalty. Her scholars know she has high expectations of them. She expects them to succeed.

Brandon, Ms Lopaz and her assistant principal had a brainstorming session. Brandon wanted to know how the HONY (Humans of New York) community could help further the vision of Ms. Lopaz’s school (Mott Hall Bridges Academy) Ms. Lopaz wants every scholar in her school to be able to go anywhere and know they belong. So it led to the creation of a fund. A fund that will allow every incoming grade 6 class to visit somewhere outside of their neighborhood. The place she chose was Harvard University.

This is taken right from the Humans of New York Facebook Page (


We’ve raised enough money in 24 hours to make the Harvard trip a permanent part of the MHBA curriculum. With two weeks left in the fundraiser, I sat down with Ms. Lopez today to learn the best way that we could continue to help her secure a bright future for her students.

“We have a major need for a summer program,” she explained. “Learning stops during the summer for my scholars. We have what is called a ‘summer slide.’ My scholars can’t even go outside. It’s too dangerous. As an exercise, my teachers broke into small groups and took a walk through the community. We wanted to understand how our students live. We went inside the housing projects. The parks and playgrounds were empty because it’s too dangerous. Even the library isn’t a safe zone. Just last Saturday, one of my scholars had two guns pulled on him while he was walking to the community center. In broad daylight. It’s just too dangerous to be outside, so my scholars stay inside all summer. They aren’t learning to ride horses or drive boats, and they certainly aren’t traveling. They miss out on the enrichment available to children from more affluent neighborhoods. They need a safe place where they can do activities and continue to grow their minds. I tried to put together a program last summer, but I couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t really put together any activities, and I could only use teachers-in-training. I need the funds to put together a program with my own teachers so my students have a safe place where they can continue to grow outside of school.”

Ms. Lopez estimates that an effective summer program will cost about $40,000 a year. So every $40,000 beyond the $350,000 we’ve already raised will provide another “safe and productive summer “ for the students at Mott Hall Bridges Academy.

If you hadn’t already donated, please consider helping us continue to empower this visionary educator in her quest to transform her school and community:

This teacher is amazing. I want so much to help her out with her vision. It took one voice, to have her story and her hopes brought out onto the Facebook world, and I want to use my voice to share it with all of you. I am not asking each of you to donate, although I think it would be awesome if you did. I am asking you to please, please, please, share this wonderful woman with the world.