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From the Streets to Success

Elizabeth Murray at her grad.
Elizabeth Murray

While some kids don't always like what mom or dad is cooking for dinner, they don't have to worry about where to find their next meal. Elizabeth Murray grew up with drug-addicted parents and often didn't have warm clothes or food. "It would be common for me to go into my kitchen and see my parents shooting drugs into their veins," Elizabeth told 20/20. "When they were done, there would be blood spots all along the walls from where they had missed veins."

When Elizabeth was 10 she found out her mother had AIDS. A few years later, while most teenage girls were worrying about what to wear, Elizabeth was looking after her Mom, who's AIDS had become full blown and were complicated by tuberculosis. Her Mom died at age 41 in 1996.

At 15 Elizabeth was homeless. Her mom was gone and her dad was on the street. After her mom's death she knew things had to change and she knew it was up to her. "I connected the lifestyles that I had witnessed every day with how my mother ended. And if there was anything I could do about it that would not happen to me. So I went back to school. But mind you, I was homeless," explains Elizabeth.

Her high school didn't know Elizabeth was homeless, not that she cared. She took an extra load of work, studied on the stairs and made excellent grades. When she read about a scholarship offered by The New York Times she quickly applied and won. She will receive $12,000 for every year at college. Elizabeth was determined to go to Harvard and the university didn't turn her down.

Right now Elizabeth lives with her little sister in New York while she waits to become a full-time student. She isn't too sure what she wants to major in yet but plans on pursuing theater, film and literature. She's working at the New York Times right now and they offered her work for the summer. Elizabeth has gone from homeless to Harvard.

Do you know any amazing kids? Is there anyone you think Kidzworld should profile?

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