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Original Freedom Writer speaks to youth

Original Freedom Writer speaks to youth
Posted at 1:16 AM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 04:16:13-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Manny Scott is an original Freedom Writer who inspired the 2007 movie. Scott spoke to hundreds of students and at-risk youth Thursday night at Bakersfield High School.

“Today’s purpose was to help the kids see that no matter how hard your life is, no matter how frustrating things are, you can turn the page and begin writing a new chapter in your life," said Scott.

With his story, he gave kid's hope.

By 16-years-old, Scott had lived in 26 different places, lost his best friend to a brutal murder and his father was incarcerated. But, he was still able to turn his life around with the help of his high school English teacher, Erin Gruwell.

“I hope they saw through my example that you can come to the bottom and still overcome those obstacles to achieve those dreams," said Scott.

His story, struggles and friendships with his classmate and teacher are now portrayed in the 2007 movie, Freedom Writers, starring Hillary Swank.

“This work for me is a small way of saying, 'thank you' to everyone who helped me and it’s my way of continuing the work,” said Scott.

During and after his speech, hundreds of students were in tears and willing to open up about their own struggles.

“Several of them shared with me privately, "I was abused, raped, my parents hate me, I was kicked out of my house',” said Scott. "They're the reason, I keep going. I talk to millions of people, but it’s my work directly with kids that fuels my fire, that remind me of why this work is so important…”

Coming full circle for Scott.

Scott's story is portrayed by Marcus in the 2007 film.