Jim St. Germain 

Jim St. Germain’s is a voice that must be heard. Born into abject poverty in Haiti, Jim moved at age ten to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, into an overcrowded apartment with his family. He quickly adapted to street life and began stealing, dealing drugs, and growing increasingly indifferent to the despair and violence that would eventually kill many of his friends. By the time he was arrested at age fifteen for dealing crack cocaine from his bicycle, he had already been handcuffed more than a dozen times. After his conviction, the walls of the system closed around him. Jim’s was a rare case because the system worked for him. He was placed mercifully not in prison, but in Boys Town, a rehabilitation facility based on structure and privileges. With the aid of mentors, “family teachers,” and positive male authority figures, St. Germain turned his life around. It proved a tortured path, but he would soon get his GED and graduate from college. And then Jim made another brave decision: he chose to stay in the same neighborhood where he grew up—every day risking situations that could lure him back to his former life—and to work from within to reform the way the criminal justice system treats “at-risk” youth. Passionate, eloquent, and timely, Jim St. Germain’s searing memoir is more than an incredible coming-of-age story. Told with a degree of candor that requires the deepest courage, A Stone of Hope is a rallying cry. No one is who they are going to be—or capable of being—at sixteen. St. Germain is living proof of this. He contends that we must work to build a world in which we do not give up on a swath of the next generation. A Stone of Hope is an inspiring challenge for every American.
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