Sampson, George, and Rameck could easily have followed their childhood friends into drugdealing, gangs, and prison. Like their peers, they came from poor, single-parent homes in urban neighborhoods where survival, not scholastic success, was the priority. When the three boys met in a magnet high school in Newark, they recognized each other as kindred spirits who wanted to overcome the incredible odds against them and reach for opportunity. They made a friendship pact, deciding together to take on the biggest challenge of their lives: attending college and then medical school. Along the way they made mistakes and faced disappointments, but by working hard, finding the right mentors, separating themselves from negative influences, and supporting each other, they achieved their goals—and more.
In We Beat the Street, award-winning YA author and teacher Sharon Draper brings the doctors’ childhood, teenage, and young-adult anecdotes vividly to life. Brief “conversations” with the doctors at the end of each chapter provide context and advice in a friendly, nonintrusive way. Youngsters will be captivated by the men’s honest accounts of the street life that threatened to swallow them up, and how they helped each other succeed beyond their wildest expectations.