The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dreamby Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt, Lisa Frazier Page
The true story of how three young men join forces to beat the odds and become doctors.See more details below
The true story of how three young men join forces to beat the odds and become doctors.
- Penguin Group (USA)
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- Product dimensions:
- 4.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.75(d)
- Age Range:
- 14 - 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
WE TREAT THEM in our hospitals every day.
They are young brothers, often drug dealers, gang members, or small-time criminals, who show up shot, stabbed, or beaten after a hustle gone bad. To some of our medical colleagues, they are just nameless thugs, perpetuating crime and death in neighborhoods that have seen far too much of those things. But when we look into their faces, we see ourselves as teenagers, we see our friends, we see what we easily could have become as young adults. And we're reminded of the thin line that separates us-three twenty-nine-year-old doctors (an emergency-room physician, an internist, and a dentist)-from these patients whose lives are filled with danger and desperation.
We grew up in poor, broken homes in New Jersey neighborhoods riddled with crime, drugs, and death, and came of age in the 1980s at the height of a crack epidemic that ravaged communities like ours throughout the nation. There were no doctors or lawyers walking the streets of our communities. Where we lived, hustlers reigned, and it was easy to follow their example. Two of us landed in juvenile-detention centers before our eighteenth birthdays. But inspired early by caring and imaginative role models, one of us in childhood latched on to a dream of becoming a dentist, steered clear of trouble, and in his senior year of high school persuaded his two best friends to apply to a college program for minority students interested in becoming doctors. We knew we'd never survive if we went after it alone. And so we made a pact: we'd help one another through, no matter what.
In college, the three of us stuck together to survive and thrive in a world that was different from anything we had ever known. We provided one another with a kind of positive peer pressure. From the moment we made our pact, the competition was on. When one of us finished his college application, the other two rushed to send theirs out. When we participated in a six-week remedial program at Seton Hall University the summer before our freshman year, each of us felt pressured to perform well because we knew our friends would excel and we didn't want to embarrass ourselves or lag behind. When one of us made an A on a test, the others strived to make A's, too.
We studied together. We worked summer jobs together. We partied together. And we learned to solve our problems together. We are doctors today because of the positive influences that we had on one another.
The lives of most impressionable young people are defined by their friends, whether they are black, white, Hispanic, or Asian; whether they are rich, poor, or middle-class; whether they live in the city, the suburbs, or the country. Among boys, particularly, there seems to be some macho code that says to gain respect, you have to prove that you're bad. We know firsthand that the wrong friends can lead you to trouble. But even more, they can tear down hopes, dreams, and possibilities. We know, too, that the right friends inspire you, pull you through, rise with you.
Each of us experienced friendships that could have destroyed our lives. We suspect that many of the young brothers we treat every day in our hospitals are entangled in such friendships-friendships that require them to prove their toughness and manhood daily, even at the risk of losing their own lives. The three of us were blessed. We found in one another a friendship that works in a powerful way; a friendship that helped three vulnerable boys grow into successful men; a friendship that ultimately helped save our lives.
But it wasn't always easy. There were times when one of us was ready to give up, and times when we made bad decisions. Some of that is ugly and difficult to admit, and we suffered pain and other consequences. But we have laid it all out here nonetheless.
We did this because we hope that our story will inspire others, so that even those young people who feel trapped by their circumstances, or pulled by peer pressure in the wrong directions, might look for a way out not through drugs, alcohol, crime, or dares but through the power of friendship. And within our story are many others, of mentors, friends, relatives, and even strangers we met along the way, whose goodwill and good deeds made a difference in our lives. We hope our story will also demonstrate that anyone with enough compassion has the power to transform and redirect someone else's troubled life.
If we have succeeded at all in helping to turn even a single life around or in opening a window of hope, then this book was well worth our effort.
What People are saying about this
"A powerful message of hope."Dallas Morning News
"Gripping, courageous, and inspiring."Philadelphia Inquirer
"After you've read it, pass it on...The Pact is a book that should never end up on a shelf because it is probably the most important book for African-American families that has been written since the protest era...Besides their personal stories, the doctors share practical steps that can be useful to a circle of friends in making their own pact...Get The Pact. It just may change a teen's future."Chicago Sun-Times
"They are an inspiration to young people everywhere, and their message is one that can transform the world."Billy Cosby
Great book! — Frank Rich, NY Times
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