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Sixteen-year-old Shamika had little hope for the future when she took her first road trip with Tanya, but she says she gained a whole new perspective. "This really opened my eyes and explained to me what my morals should be. It put my priorities back in order," she says. "Most of my friends over here are gangbangers. They're caught up into this lifestyle. Martin Luther King, he never showed any type of violence, and if he can do it—if he can do it—I can do it."

On her most recent bus trip, Shamika acted as a mentor for younger children. "They do count on me to step up and be a leader and let the other kids that are new know right from wrong," Shamika says.

Tanya believes her greatest victory has been helping young people like Shamika. "They go through life, and they think that they can't achieve. They think that they won't amount to anything. And it's not such!" Tanya says. "My goal, when I bring our kids together, is for them to dream again, for them to bring back hope. Because when you have hope, you have determination."
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FROM: The Dream Lives: A Martin Luther King Day Special
Published on March 14, 2008

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