Cities Begin To Count The Scars Of Childhood, And Try To Prevent New Damage

LOS ANGELES — Kimberly Cervantes has spent much of her young life learning to outwit the perils of Compton. At 19, she’s street smart and savvy, but Cervantes’ maturity was born out of a violent childhood.

In high school, she was assaulted on a public bus. In middle school, she witnessed the deaths of two students. Her mother and younger brother were once robbed at gunpoint at a convenience store. The steady exposure to violence has led Cervantes to some dark places — including crippling anxiety and thoughts of suicide.

“There’s so many people out there acting out,” she said. “Drug abusers on almost every corner. It’s hard to maintain the whole happy-go lifestyle.”

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