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From homeless to Harvard . . . it is an unlikely turn of events. Liz Murray’s life is a triumph over adversity and a stunning example of the importance of dreaming big. Murray’s life as the child of cocaine-addicted parents in the Bronx was bitterly grim. There was never food in the house, everything was filthy, drugs were everywhere and the welfare checks were spent before they arrived.
By age 15, Murray’s mom had died and she was homeless—living on the streets, riding the subway all night and eating from dumpsters. Amidst this pain, Murray always imagined her life could be much better than it was. “I started to grasp the value of the lessons learned while living on the streets. I knew, after overcoming those daily obstacles that next to nothing could hold me down.” Determined to take charge of her life, Murray finished high school in just two years while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations. She won a scholarship to Harvard University that would turn her bleak circumstances into a future filled with limitless possibility. With sincerity, maturity and graciousness, Murray takes audiences along on her personal journey from street smarts to classroom triumphs, instantly becoming an inspiration to both student groups and business audiences alike in need of the motivation to overcome their own obstacles.
Murray’s story is exhilarating and her delivery innocently honest, as she takes audiences on a very personal journey where she achieves the improbable. Her story sounds like a Hollywood movie—and it practically is. Lifetime Television produced a movie about Murray’s life story entitled From Homeless to Harvard, which premiered in April 2003. Murray is the recipient of Oprah Winfrey’s first ever Chutzpah Award. Her memoir, Breaking Night, was released in September 2010 and within a week landed on The New York Times Best-seller List.
From Homeless to Harvard
A story so powerful it was made into a movie, Liz Murray shares her fascinating, inspirational story of growing up with two drug addicted parents who she began supporting at age 10. Homeless at age 15, the death of her mother was the wake-up call that made her break free of her circumstances and pursue a different path for her life. While living on the streets of New York, she completed and graduated from high school in just two years. Overcoming horrible odds, she won a full scholarship and was accepted to Harvard University. Murray offers one of the most moving, elegant and uplifting tales you will ever hear.
Giving Back: Extending Corporate Values into Your Community
While the practice of Corporate Social Responsibility galvanized the business world years ago, companies and organizations continue to voluntarily increase the steps they take to improve the quality of life for their communities and society at large. Employees play a key role in community-based initiatives, but more importantly have an innate desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. Liz Murray’s inspirational story challenges the audience to recognize the opportunity we each have to make a lasting contribution on another person’s life. Employees will find themselves re-charged and ready to step-up as community leaders.
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