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A 13-year-old aspiring astronaut raised thousands so girls could see 'Hidden Figures'

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A 13-year-old aspiring astronaut raised thousands so girls could see 'Hidden Figures'

WATCH | Taylor Richardson wanted to make sure 100 low-income girls in her hometown could see "Hidden Figures" for free. What she got in return is so much more than she expected.

Starting a campaign

After Taylor Richardson, 13, left a private screening of Oscar-nominated "Hidden Figures" at the White House, she says she felt inspired.

Taylor, an aspiring astronaut and admirer of engineer and NASA astronaut Mae C. Jemison attended a special White House Space Exploration event in December where she took part in the special screening. 

"I was really inspired about how these women pushed through their obstacles and knew that they could do it, no matter what was in their way," said Richardson. "So I thought, well, let me raise money to take 100 girls to go see 'Hidden Figures.'"

So with the help of her mother, Toni, the Jacksonville, Florida, native did just that.

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She originally planned to raised $2,600 to send 100 girls with a copy of the book and a snack to the screening. Within a matter of weeks, she'd raised $17,000, through a Gofundme campaign. 

'I didn't expect it'

The seventh grader and her single mom say they did not see this coming.

"I didn't expect it would get this much publicity," said Taylor.

In Jacksonville alone, they were able to send 750 girls to a screening of the movie and fund a few more screenings in North Carolina, bringing the total to more than 1,000 girls.

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The Gofundme campaign has spurred at least 70 other similar campaigns in 28 cities, bringing the total funds raised to about $120,000, said Toni Richardson.

The rest of the money

Donations to the original Gofundme campaign were still coming in almost two months after the campaign was started.

The single mother-daughter duo plan to use the remaining funds to deliver DVDs of the movie to young girls in shelters across the country, and then some.

"Our first Gofundme campaign was in 2014 to send Taylor to Space Camp, so we hope to send one or two local children this year."


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Taylor and Toni Richardson say they're excited to see men and women contributing to the cause of getting more young women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). 

(Photo: Jensen Hande)

About Taylor

Ask her mom, and she'll say Taylor is your "typical" 13-year-old girl.

"She's dealt with bullying," said Richardson. "She's been retained, but she's turned these tests into testimonies."

Taylor will be the first to tell you she has ADHD, something she's coined "Abundantly Different, Happily Divine," and that she hopes to be an astronaut one day.

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When she's not busy running track or starting successful nationwide movements to get girls into STEM, Taylor runs a book drive through which she also reads to students at low-income schools. (Photo: Jensen Hande)

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