So if you aren't following Humans of New York, otherwise known as HONY, on Facebook, go do that. Right now. You don't have Facebook? Follow its Tumblr blog. All right, so you're not on Tumblr. Follow it on Twitter. My point: Follow the damn blog.
I believe I discovered this blog right around my freshman year. It was a while ago — around 2011 when the blog began to blow up. For those who don't know, HONY is a blog dedicated to photographing the people of New York City. A caption accompanies a photo, and the caption is usually either insightful, cute, funny or deep. Like deep, deep, puncturing-your-heart deep. Brandon Stanton, the creator, has done some amazing work.
He and his work have also been the talk of the town recently. They've made some awesome headlines. This USA TODAY story goes into it all really well: who he is, his background and what he has accomplished.
This dude single handedly raised over $1 million for Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a Brooklyn, N.Y., middle school. Check out the Indigogo Fundraiser page. The goal was just $100,000 to send sixth graders to visit Harvard University. But once the dollars started piling up, Stanton realized this money could do so much more than just send these kids on a visit to an Ivy League university. It could also fund a scholarship to send students like Vidal, who brought Stanton's attention to the amazing work happening at this school, to Ivy League universities.
— Brandon Stanton (@humansofny) January 27, 2015
Man, I'm all about changing the world and doing right. This guy has got it down packed. The power of one photo where Vidal said his principal, Ms. Lopez, inspired him the most led Stanton to go find that principal. Over 38,000 people have donated, including myself. HONY has nearly 12 million Facebook followers. Imagine if everyone donated just $1. That would be incredible.
This school is in a rough neighborhood with one of the highest crime rates in New York City. Crime has decreased dramatically since 1990, according to a recent crime report, but it still plagues the community. Brownsville, N.Y., is also known for its poverty. Just type "Brownsville NY poverty statistics" in Google. You'll find a bunch of stuff like this Times article and this The Nation article.
I'm quite jealous of Stanton's abilities. The funds will go toward sending sixth graders to Harvard, funding a summer program for the students and funding a scholarship to ensure these students can continue their education.
If you want to talk about helping people, talk about this guy. His photos always receive at least a few thousand likes with people typing uplifting and touching comments. The HONY following is a bit like a family. They take care of each other. It's a little taste of what the whole world should be like.
If you have a dollar to spare, consider donating it to the fundraiser. It ends Feb. 10. These kids just may have a chance now — and you can be a part of that.
Photo courtesy of Niyantha Shekar // Flickr
Editor's Note: A former version of this stated the fundraiser ended Feb. 5. After taking another look at the site, it was changed to the correct date: Feb. 10.