Lady Gaga credits John Lennon and Yoko Ono for inspiring her to get involved with charity work.
The Poker Face singer launched the Born This Way Foundation in 2011 and has thrown her support behind a number of charitable efforts. Gaga is often lauded for her philanthropic work, but she insists she owes her charitable interests to the late Beatles star and his widow.
“I was actually always a very big fan of Yoko Ono and also her work with her late husband John Lennon, and when they made peace statements together, they were very simple,” the singer says. “They would say things like, ‘Give peace a chance’, and the press would say, ‘Well, what do you mean?’ and they’d say, ‘That’s what we mean – just give it a chance’. We’re asking people to give kindness a chance.”
The 31-year-old recently teamed up with organizers at Staples for Students, who are donating $1 million to the BTW Foundation and DonorsChoose.org to help foster a positive environment in schools. She recently visited students at Walter Reed Middle School in California to discuss the difficulties they face as teenagers.
“They came in all shapes and sizes, with different academic heights, and there were kids with disabilities,” she says. “It was extraordinary to look each other in the eye, hear what they needed: ‘I need to be accepted; I want to feel supported; I want the classroom to be more like this or that because I was born this way.’ It was really powerful.”
And meeting with the children has given her more drive to help.
“Everyone can go on about how the world needs to be a better place, that we’re in a very negative time, but this starts in the classroom,” she continues. “The world becomes better when people are kind.”