Earlier this year, Humans of New York blogger Brandon Stanton stopped in a Brooklyn housting project to take a picture of 13-year-old Vidal Chastanet. The teenager, a student at Mott Hall Bridges Academy, spoke to Stanton about his inspiring principal — a woman named Nadia Lopez.
"When we get in trouble, she doesn't suspend us," Chastanet explained. "She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us... One time, she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter."
Stanton, inspired by the story, tracked down Nadia Lopez, the Guatemalan-Honduran American principal at the middle school. There, she told him about the struggles she faces daily. Lopez explained that many children feel "stuck" in their neighborhood — one of the most crime-riddled in New York — and many have never left the city. "It can be very difficult for them to dream beyond what they know," she explained.
Together, they decided to launch an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds that would provide each incoming 6th grade class a chance to visit a new place: Harvard University. They asked followers of Humans of New York to raise $100,000. Within a matter of days, they had raised over a $1 million.
Ellen DeGeneres recently invited Stanton, Vidal Chastanet and Nadia Lopez to be a guest on The Ellen Show. Watch the heartwarming interview belove! Plus, Vidal and Nadia Lopez receive a very special surprise at the end: