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Yvette Nicole Brown Tells Us Why “Teachers Are the Unsung Heroes”


Our team recently got a little boost—and we want to share the love.Actress, philanthropist, and DonorsChoose.org board member Yvette Nicole Brown paid a visit to our office this month and sat down with Charles, our founder and CEO, for an interview. Below are five inspirational snippets from the chat. (Scroll down for the full video!)


On chasing your dreams:

“When I first started acting, early on, I told myself it takes 100 “no”s to get a “yes”. So that made getting “no”s exciting. And here’s the punchline: I never got to 100. Something always came before I got to 100. But if my mindset is that it takes 100—then every “no” is a step toward my dream.”


On the first DonorsChoose.org project she funded, and why:

“It was a group of students who just needed crayons. I grew up in a single-parent home and there were a lot of things my mother couldn’t provide. I remember one Christmas I got a 64 box of crayons, and they were mine. I didn’t have to share them with my brother… And I know that feeling of having your own box of crayons and I know that feeling when you can’t afford it. And that teacher just wanted her babies to have crayons.”

[caption id="attachment_10887" align="aligncenter" width="720"]

Yvette and the DonorsChoose.org Team

Yvette with the DonorsChoose.org team[/caption]

On teachers:

“Teachers are the unsung heroes. I think that everyone in here, if asked, could think of a teacher that touched them, that changed their life, that changed their trajectory. So many [teachers] are doing this work for little money, little recognition. They don’t get “atta boy”s and “atta girl”s and pats on the back. They are the ones that are the scapegoats when things go wrong. They’re the ones getting the calls from parents when students aren’t performing. They are breaking their necks and they’re getting very little... And they deserve a win.”

Hold onto all the good

On living in the moment:

“I don’t know where my next blessing is coming from, and I don’t know who I next need to be a blessing to. If you’re open to it, you can receive blessings from strangers every day and—more importantly—you can be a blessing to strangers every day. It can be as simple as holding a door open for someone.”


On finding inspiration in tough times:

“I get righteously upset about what’s wrong in the world every single day, but then I remember that I’m still in the world and I have a chance to affect some change. You just have to find your sphere of influence, whatever that is. You find your goodness and your happiness where you can. … Whatever it is for you that makes your spirits rise, find that and cling to it. … Hold on to all the good that you can while it’s good and may that carry you through the times when it’s dark.”


For more from Yvette on teachers, students, and why she can’t stop watching The Walking Dead—check out the whole interview below:

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