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Social media enables massive benefits to New York middle school

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BYU-Hawaii student’s eyes are open to the power of social media in the wake of a massive fundraiser for New York schools by the creator of Humans of New York.Humans of New York photo-blogger Brandon Stanton raised over one million dollars in less than a week for underprivileged youth at Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a middle school in Brooklyn. Over 38,000 individuals helped to fund the project for youth in one of New York’s roughest neighborhoods, donating from $1 to $100, according to NBC News. Melinda Pike, a BYU-H alumnus, said, “With the click of a button, we can tell everyone we know about a friend who is in need of help. With the click of a button, they can donate or share their resources in order to help.”Stanton and Humans of New York broke the Indiegogo record for most funded project in the history of the site and they did it in record time. Yahoo News reports the money will be used to fund three different programs at the school for the next decade: a Harvard trip, a summer program, and an annual scholarship for one outstanding scholar.Yahoo News reported principal Nadia Lopez as saying, “This is a neighborhood that doesn’t necessarily expect much from our children, so at Mott Hall Bridges Academy we set our expectations very high. We don’t call the children ‘students,’ we call them ‘scholars.’”Stanton has been receiving a lot of publicity from supporters all around the nation; even President Obama has recognized the Humans of New York blog. He recognized the good the blog and its supporters has done for underprivileged New York Schools.Pres. Obama recently met with the Principal Lopez and Vidal Chastanet, a student from the school from whom the inspiration for the Indiegogo project came. According to Humans of New York, Pres. Obama was inspired by the work of Stanton and the positive outlook on life Lopez was instilling in the children. He invited Stanton, Lopez, and Chastanet to the Oval Office and offered some advice and words of encouragement: "Usually life is not a straight line. We don't do things alone. Nobody does things alone," Obama said. "Everybody always needs support. You'll have a lot of people supporting you out there. You just gotta make sure you seize those opportunities." Reif Tauati, a senior studying computer science from the Big Island said, “The internet was the most important invention in the last 200 years. Good people use this connectivity to bring like-minded people together in a way that was impossible in every other age since the beginning of time.”Pike added, “We saw with the A.L.S. challenge how powerful social media can be for good. It is when we hear empowering stories of social media being used as a tool for good around the world that we realize its true potential. It is important that media sources continue to share positive stories of social media successes.”Uploaded Feb.16, 2015
Writer: Trenton McCullough