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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

“Humans of New York” Facebook page raises $1.5 million for students

The Internet has evolved significantly in the last few years — for  better and for worse. Too many times have we  heard our parents tell us to “get off of Facebook” or “stop Instagramming food.” But while the Internet can serve as a distraction, it has also connected the world to enact change in unbelievable ways.

One of the most heartwarming examples of this is the well-known page “Humans of New York” (HONY). Started by passionate young photographer Brandon Stanton, this site has garnered over 12 million likes and the attention from people worldwide. In fact, many other cities, schools and organizations have made their own “Humans of” page, including Humans of Saratoga High. These pages, based on the original HONY, intend to showcase photos and stories of ordinary people.

One of Stanton’s recent greatest accomplishments was his introduction of a project called “Let’s Send Kids to Harvard,” which aims to send children of low-income families in Brooklyn to Harvard each year. Stanton began this project after meeting Vidal Chastanet, a student at Mott Bridges Academy in Brooklyn, and his principal, Nadia Lopez. Impressed with Lopez’s mission to help her students secure their futures, Stanton asked followers of his page to donate to the school, with a target of $100,000. The money, said Lopez, would fund the trip to Harvard each year to show the students that “there is not a single place they don’t belong.”

Within three hours, the goal was reached, and over the course of a mere 20 days, donations reached more than $1.4 million. Many people were so touched by the story that they contributed as much as they could, the donations ranging anywhere from $5 to $100.

With the remaining money, Stanton and Lopez decided to start a scholarship program for the school’s graduates as well, naming it after the first recipient, Chastanet.

This story garnered so much interest that Chastanet, Lopez and Stanton were featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” They also met with President Obama in the Oval Office, where Chastanet was reminded that “there are a lot of people out there who want to provide advice and support to people who are trying to do the right thing. So [he would] have a lot of people helping [him].”

This page brought people together from all over the world, connected by nothing more than a Facebook post and human kindness.

Humans of New York connects people from around the world in a way that many social media sites strive for. Each picture tells an extraordinary story of ordinary people just like us. It has become an intertwined community of complete strangers who continue to share personal stories and spread positivity.

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