It’s likely that you’ve seen a photo taken by Brandon Stanton. He’s the guy behind “Humans Of New York,” a massively popular photo project that puts Stanton and his camera on the streets of New York City, snapping photos of the people he sees and asking them questions about their lives, their memories, their goals, and their fears.
Now, a photo Stanton took of Vidal Chastanet, a 13-year-old from Brownsville, Brooklyn, an area with the highest crime rate in the city, is going viral, and helped Stanton raise nearly one million dollars for Mott Hall Bridges Academy, where Chastanet is a 6th grader.
Stanton, who hardly ever meddles in the lives of those he photographs, was compelled to go to the school to meet Principal Nadia Lopez.
Ellen DeGeneres’ “Good News” section of her blog had the story,
Nadia was in the middle of raising money to send her students on a trip to Harvard, a college she wanted them to have in the forefront of their minds. Soon thereafter, Brandon found himself joining the cause, helping to raise over $700,000 for the trip in just four days.
Thanks to the amount of money raised (you can check out their donation page here), the 6th grade class will be able to visit Harvard for the next 10 years.
“If you’re from Brownsville, they don’t expect you to be much in life,” Chastanet says. “They don’t expect you to have a quality education, they don’t expect you to know what you’re doing. They expect you to fail. They don’t want you to become anything that you want to be… I realized that if I want to be anything in life, as Ms. Lopez said, I have to learn how to be better. It doesn’t matter about the past and present, you must focus on the future. Your future is what you set it to be in your mind.”
This article first appeared in Business Insider