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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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    Dear Dish-It in the forums

    Alsina
    Alsina posted in Family Issues:
    Yes you're totally right It is a life changing decision. I mean I am going to try and talk with her about it but then again she is 23 an adult so she's at that age that she can make her own choices in life, whether its good or bad. Um but yeah I will definitely tell her how I feel about it. I really don't want to lose her to the gang life, kinda feels like I already am but I'm hoping she'll understand my decision. Thanks. 
    reply about 3 hours
    Alsina
    Alsina posted in Family Issues:
    Well she's already officially a member. I'll try and talk to her about it though, I kinda know why she joined, because she likes the excitement of it, the money and the sense of family. I already feel like I am going to lose her to the gang life. 
    reply about 3 hours
    Thranduil
    That is the type of decision capable of changing your life. However, if you don't want to be part of it (And I highly recommend not engaging in that sort of lifestyle), then as hugebear said, you should sit your sister down and explain to her why you do not want to be part of a gang and maybe since you're afraid to lose her, explain that just because you want no part in it does not mean you want to lose her as well.
    reply about 5 hours
    hugebear
    hugebear posted in Family Issues:
    Me advices is talk to her.  Tell her exactly what your feeling and you doesnt want to join and ask her why she is joining.  Tell her why you think she shouldnt and also add that you feels that you will lose her if she does.
    reply about 5 hours
    Alsina
    Alsina posted in Family Issues:
    So my big sister just recently told me she was in a gang, I kinda already figured she was but I never asked. I don't really know how to feel about it. She's like my best friend, I can come to her for anything and I'd do anything for her! Anyways she asked me if I wanted to join the family, I haven't really given her an answer yet, and she keeps trying to pull one out of me so I jokingly asked what gang she was in and she told me she was a crip.Telling me that she and her boys will have my back and stuff... I don't want to lose her if i say no but I also don't want to be in a gang.  =(
    reply about 5 hours

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