Homeless and Transitional Youth Advocate Carissa Phelps to Speak at UCR

Former child-prostitute turned lawyer to conclude Women in Leadership Speakers Series on May 1

Attorney, author and activist Carissa Phelps.

Attorney, author and activist Carissa Phelps will speak at the University of California, Riverside on Tuesday, May 1.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Author and attorney Carissa Phelps, an advocate for homeless and transitional age youth, will speak at the University of California, Riverside on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Highlander Union Building (HUB) 302.

Phelps presentation, “From Sex Trade to Legal Aid,” is the third and final presentation in the Women in Leadership Speakers Series, sponsored by the UCR Women’s Resource Center. It is free and open to the public, but prior sign-up is required. RSVP online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SY9XNGN. For questions or additional information, call (951) 827-3337. There is a fee of $5.00 for non-permit holders to park on campus.

Women’s Resource Center Director Adrienne Sims said she was excited to be able to bring “an exemplary female role model” to campus.

“She has overcome such adversity in her life, and it is a greater testament that now, as a professional, she reaches out to youth who were once in her shoes,” Sims said. “She is an example of what can come of unfaltering persistence and belief.”

As a child, Phelps was abandoned in the lobby of the Fresno juvenile hall. After running away from group homes, she ended up on the street, homeless and alone. At the age of 12 she fell into prostitution. But with the help of a dedicated counselor and math teacher in juvenile hall, Phelps found a love for education and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in mathematics from Fresno State. After spending a year as a teacher, she then went to UCLA where she earned a Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law and an MBA from the UCLA School of Management in 2007.

In 2008, her story was told in an award-winning 23-minute documentary by her MBA classmate, David Sauvage.

The speakers’ series is part of The Leadership Community for Women Initiative on campus. Previous speakers in the series were civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez last November and astronaut Anna L. Fisher in April.

“The goal of the series is to highlight women who pave the way for current and aspiring student leaders,” Sims said. “Not only do individuals draw strength from women who have triumphed, but they are especially moved by those who have triumphed in the face of obstacles or unequal footing.”

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Adrienne Sims
Tel: Tel: (951) 827-3337
E-mail: adrienne.sims@ucr.edu

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