When 16-year-old high school student Marcela Pinos from the Bronx was invited to the prestigious High School Presidential Inaugural Conference, she was thrilled. But there was one major obstacle: Pinos couldn't afford the hefty price tag of the five-day event.
Thanks to the kindness of strangers, Pinos will now be able to watch Obama take the oath of office come Monday. Online donors paid $3,290 to fund her trip to study government and leadership, DNA Info reports.
A New Jersey man, originally from the Bronx and inspired by Pinos' story, donated $1,765 via gofundme.com towards Pinos' fund-raising efforts. The man described Pinos as a "special person who is able to persevere."
Pinos' mother, Mariela Torres, told CBS News that she was “so happy and so thankful" for the donations. Pinos was just as excited to be given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“At the beginning when we couldn’t get any donations, there were tears of sadness," Pinos told CBS News. "But then towards the end when we received the total cost there were tears of joy and excitement because I was finally going to achieve a dream come true."
On Monday, Pinos will be present to witness a historic event: For only the second time in history, the presidential inauguration will coincide with Martin Luther King, Jr. day.