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CDF began the Beat the Odds program in 1990 to highlight the positive potential of young people. Too often we hear about teens getting into trouble, dropping out of school, becoming involved with drugs, crime or gangs, or becoming parents too soon. Rarely recognized are the many young people who do well despite facing overwhelming obstacles, such as poverty, violence, homelessness, family break-up or substance abuse, that can stand in the way of even the smallest achievements.
Not only did this awards event celebrate the scholarship recipients and their accomplishments, but it publicly honored these young people who have persevered through tremendous adversity provides positive role models for youths in similar situations. Additionally, Beat the Odds events demonstrate that behind each successful child is at least one caring adult and inspires community leaders and citizens who want to help children struggling to overcome adversity.
Nancy M. Folger & Sidney L. Werkman
Michelle Cross Fenty, First Lady of the District of Columbia