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Dr. Joseph Marshall, Jr.

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"There's nothing more valuable than an individual's life. A friend is someone who will never lead you into danger. And respect comes from within. Nobody can disrespect you if you respect yourself."

Dr. Marshall developed those three maxims into the 'Alive and Free Prescription,' a model now employed by more than 60 projects nationwide. The results are impressive. “Since 1987, nearly 100% of the youth who have actively used the prescription have remained alive and free,” the Omega Boys Club reports. “The Annie E. Casey Foundation has identified the Alive & Free Prescription as one of the most 15 promising models across the nation.”

This new way of thinking along with academic support has helped hundreds of young people change the direction of their lives and set goals for themselves they had never imagined before. For those who want to go to college, Dr. Marshall pledges the financial support to make it possible.

“The college piece is something I committed to them, that if they could beat the streets, they could pick the college and I would find the money,” he says. So far the club made it possible for 150 Omega Boys to graduate college, with another 50 currently enrolled.

As Dr. Marshall's efforts won national renown, other advocates in the field began adopting his model of youth development and violence prevention. Today Dr. Marshall is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the McArthur Foundation Genius Award, the Leadership Award from the Children's Defense Fund, the Essence Award honoring outstanding contributions by African American men, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award from the National Educational Association, and the Use Your Life Award from Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network. He is also the author of the 1996 best-seller, Street Soldier: One Man's Struggle to Save a Generation, One Life at a Time.

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