BROOKLYN, NY (CHASING NEWS) -- Brownsville in Brooklyn is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York. Gangs and violence and crushing poverty are all part of the landscape.
Meet Nadia Lopez, principal and founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy. Lopez is trying to flip the script on the kids growing up Brownsville. She doesn't just want them to survive; she wants them to have the brightest future possible.
"We deal with a high gang rate, we deal with a low employment rate and you also just have violence and that's real," Lopez said.
"There's oftentimes that I'm in my office and you hear the helicopters. There's been times that we've had to do a shelter-in" because of gunshots in the neighborhood.
Lopez is teaching the students to be critical thinkers and entrepreneurs. Eleven-year-old Tekerria designed a shoe inspired by President Trump.
"I saw this dress online that said "Make America Great Again." ... It inspired me to make this shoe for that dress."
How much would she charge?
"I'd say $250," Tekerria said.
Lopez is helping the students of Mott Hall Bridges Academy find and fight their way out of difficult challenges.
"You should never feel like just to get home, you don't know if you're going to make it, just to get to school, you don't know if you're going to make it," Lopez said.
"But they come. And they go to high school. And now we have our first graduating class that will be going to college," she said. "Those are the victories."
The Mott Hall Bridges Academy opened in 2010 and serves grades 6, 7 and 8. It features small classroom sizes along with academic and social emotional intervention.
The core classes are math, Science, ELA, Social Studies and Art.