13-Year-Old Whose Words Helped Raise $1M For His Brooklyn School Visits White House

February 9, 2015  |  

Remember the Brooklyn school kid whose brief man-on-the-street type interview with the popular Humans Of New York blog wound up raising his school more than $1 million via a fundraiser launched by the blog? Blogger Brandon Stanton, Vidal Chastanet and his Mott Hall Bridges Academy principal Nadia Lopez, whom he praised to the blog, wound up with an invitation to the White House.

Chastanet even had the chance to sit in the President’s chair in the Oval Office and chat with Obama.

Originally posted February 4, 2015



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One of the coolest things about this fundraiser is that it originated with a young man on the street, who chose to tell a stranger about the love and appreciation he had for his school principal. His name is Vidal, and I had a chance to reconnect with him during my visit to Mott Hall Bridges Academy. He could not possibly be a more polite or charismatic young man. “I want to own my own restaurant,” he told me. “When I was little, I used to watch my mom cook. Then I started cooking for myself when I was nine. I’d get the ingredients myself at the corner store and make something for my brothers. I just thought it was a good thing for an older brother to do. I can make curry chicken, jerk chicken, curry goat, fried rice, macaroni and cheese, and all kinds of stuff.” “What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment?” “Getting publicity for my school.” ‪#BrownsvilleBrilliance ———————————————— The fundraiser inspired by Vidal has been an overwhelming blessing for his school, and has raised over $570,000 to help provide much needed programs for his classmates. If you’d like to help expand upon its success, you can do so by contributing. Link in bio.

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One day blogger/photographer Brandon Stanton, who is behind the Internet’s most popular photo blogs Humans of New York, stopped 13-year-old student named Vidal Chastanet and asked “Who’s influenced you most in your life?” Little did anyone know that Chastanet’s response would result in his helping raise more than $1 million for his Brownsville, Brooklyn, school.

Chastanet’s answer, which was posted on the blog, was:”My principal, Ms. Lopez.”  And when Stanton asked: “How has she influenced you?”

Chastanet said: “When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us 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 us that we matter.”

Money to the school poured in. And last week, Mott Hall Bridges Academy principal Nydia Lopez told her 195 students that a school fundraiser to send the Brooklyn middle schoolers on a trip to Harvard had not only reached its $100,000 goal, but had raised more than $700,000, reports The Huffington Post.

Soon after that, the donations increased to $1,179,873.

The scholars of MHBA are inspiring the entire world,” Lopez said during a recent school assembly. “People have written me letters from New Zealand, England and South Africa, telling me that they care about you.”

A little #HumpDay #inspiration for you.

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