Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph.D.


By: Dr. Victor Rios

Trace the true-life story of Dr. Victor Rios, a college professor who grew up amid poverty and violence, in Oakland, California. He inspires us with his perseverance and resiliency to conquer obstacles, and his openness to accept support and guidance from others throughout his journey.

Victor Rios grew up in a single parent household, in poverty and on welfare. He joined a gang at the age of thirteen and by sixteen had dropped out of school and been incarcerated several times. After witnessing the tragic murder of his best friend by gang rivals, Victor hit a critical juncture in his life.

With the encouragement of educators and mentors, Victor redirected his attitude towards life, and returned to school to eventually earn a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

This book is written to speak to a young adult audience—those young people who live on the margins, who are often assigned texts that do not represent their lived reality, their struggles, or their experiences. This book naturally segues into discussions of complicated social issues like abuse, youth violence, delinquency, fatalism, opportunity, stratification, poverty, resilience, college, positive role models, healthy choices, and personal transformation.