DR. TOMAS MAGANA, 48
TOUGH START: Raised by a single teen mom in an East Los Angeles neighborhood where gangs, drugs and poverty ruined lives, Tomás Magaña held on to his dream of becoming a doctor. With his mom's support and scholarships, he became a pediatrician—with a mission. "I decided," says Magaña, "to give kids what I wish I'd had."
PROMISING PATH: In 2000 Magaña launched FACES for the Future (facesforthefuture.org). The nonprofit has paired 468 high school students with medical professionals in two-year mentorships; they shadow surgeons, assist nurses and learn hospital procedures. Nearly all have gone to college; many are training for or working in health-related fields.
DOCTOR IN TRAINING: "Dr. Magaña overcame all these challenges," says Leonel Mendoza, 26, who grew up poor in Oakland and now is a first-year medical student. "It would be awesome if I can too."
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