Editor’s Note: Babble and Good Morning America are a part of The Walt Disney Company.
Taylor Richardson was only 9 years old when she launched a GoFundMe campaign to finance a trip to space camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Since she wanted to become an astronaut, scientist, or engineer, camp did more than just set her future dreams into motion; they sparked a mission that went well beyond what she alone could do.
After being part of a special White House screening of the movie Hidden Figures, which features the incredible story of Mary Jackson, an African-American woman who overcame adversity to become a critical part of the NASA space program, Richardson had an idea.
“I left D.C. feeling incredibly inspired to pay it forward for some girls in my community to have a special viewing as well,” she wrote on her second GoFundMe page. “But not just girls of color, all girls from all walks of life in my city who may have the courage to dream BIG.”
Setting out with a goal to take 100 girls to see the film, no one could have predicted that in just a short amount of time, Richardson would raise nearly $20,000.
And if that jaw-dropping accomplishment wasn’t enough, she didn’t stop there — because if anything, her prior success only caused her dreams to grow even bigger. One thousand girls bigger, to be exact.
At age 14 and running her third GoFundMe to date, Richardson now has her eyes set on taking 1,000 girls to see Disney’s new movie A Wrinkle in Time, which will hit theaters in the spring of this year.
The movie, a sci-fi fantasy starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Zach Galifianakis, showcases two children who use science and math to delve into space to find their father, who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Heavy in the STEM themes that ignite Richardson’s passion, Richardson wastes no time listing out her reasons for wanting this GoFundMe to be a success.
1. It shows young, black girls deserving a chance to be a part of the [sci-fi] cultural canon.
2. It has a female protagonist in a science fiction film. A brown girl front and center who looks like me in the role of Meg, a girl traveling to different planets and encountering beings and situations that I’d never seen a girl of color in.
3. Most impressive and importantly, it’s a fantasy film that is not about some white boys fighting evil, but about a black girl overcoming it.
Summing it up in a recent interview with Good Morning America, Richardson explains that she “wanted to do the A Wrinkle in Time campaign, because in my opinion, representation matters. I wanted all girls, especially girls of color, to know they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up and also can struggle and have flaws and still be successful in life.”
And her reasons seem to be more than enough to convince other people to jump on board with her idea, because to date, she has raised $23,000 towards taking 1,000 girls to see the movie, while designating any additional funding to go towards projects and camp scholarships to continue to expand the reach of STEM to girls just like her.
With donations ranging from a few dollars to over $1000 dollars from one donor alone, it’s not just money pouring into her campaign, but also supportive comments such as, “It is truly inspiring to see a forward thinking young lady such as yourself,” and “Believe you can do anything you put your mind to” — a motto that Richardson already knows all too well.
“With drive, determination, and hard work you [can] be anything, a scientist, a mathematician, an engineer, an astronaut,” Richardson writes. “Or maybe the President of the United States even when the odds are against you!”
Odds, which for Richardson, are nothing compared to the payoff you get when you work towards making your dreams a reality. Dreams, which she is now able to share with 1,000 girls just like her, because of how many people have come to believe in their success.