The story of Carissa Phelps - formerly a prostituted youth at 13 and now a lawyer and advocate - is one of inspiration, hope and success. In 2012, Carissa Phelps added CEO of Runaway Girl, Inc. to her list of titles, which also include: attorney, crisis counselor, mentor, and advocate for runaway and homeless youth. And now she’s on the "Freedom for All" Radio Show! :)
Carissa Phelp’s unique early life experiences combined with her professional and personal accomplishments have enabled Carissa to envision a world where runaways are cared for and guided on their journey to adulthood.
At 13 years old, Carissa had dropped out of school, and felt there were only two options left for her. The first was an early death, and the second was life in prison. Thanks to the persistence of a counselor and a math teacher in juvenile hall, Carissa changed her mind about what her future might hold. A decade later, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in mathematics from CSU Fresno (her juvy counselor and juvy teacher’s alma mater). After teaching high school math for one year, Carissa went on to pursue her dream of becoming an advocate for the rights of others. In 2007, she earned a Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law, as well as an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.
In 2008, David Sauvage, an MBA classmate, told her amazing juvy-to-justice story in an award winning 23-minute documentary entitled, “CARISSA. The film continues to inspire troubled youth and their advocates to look for the potential in themselves and others.
Carissa’s journey includes letting go of a history of abuse, neglect, abandonment, and trauma. By sharing her own story of healing and reconciliation, she inspires others to do the same. Websites:www.carissaphelps.com and www.runawaygirl.info
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