Camden's Little Citizens With Big Dreams

Thank you to all of you who have reached out (and are still reaching out) to the children you saw earlier this month on "20/20." There was a large response to Valeska and her wish for a bike. Many of you offered to donate one, and the above photo shows Valeska with the bike she received from a "20/20" viewer in Queens, N.Y.

Many of you have also asked about going to one of Wade's piano recitals. He is very flattered by the interest and will try to organize a recital sometime soon. We will post information about it when we get it. If you want to help the children of Camden, you can click here to help the children you met or the organizations that are working in Camden to help the children there every day.

Nine months ago, "20/20" visited Camden, N.J., a poor, drug-ridden and crime-infested city. We introduced you to three young citizens who were attempting to thrive and survive in an impoverished community with a murder rate seven times the national average, and climbing.

Four-year-old Ivan Stevens was homeless, and he sometimes spent entire days in a park, dirty and hungry. At night, he and his mother, Precious, and little brother, Imere, would seek temporary refuge in an illegal boarding house where the landlord had padlocked the refrigerator to keep them from taking food. All three slept on one chair surrounded by clutter and roaches.

Billy Joe Marrero, 17, was struggling to become the first person in his family to graduate from high school, and he juggled school with a part-time job. At home, electricity and heat were scarce, and the family would often use the stove to keep warm. At night Billy slept on the cold, hardwood floor, but he had a dream of becoming an actor. He even went to a casting call in nearby Philadelphia, but was ill-prepared.

Six-year-old Andrieana "Moochie" Rodriguez was a witness to what life is like in Camden. She took "20/20" on a tour through her neighborhood and playground. "Don't fall," she said. "You might get stuck by the needles. The drug dealers come and put a whole lot of needles in here."

Ivan, Billy and Moochie's stories represent those of 12.8 million other children living below the poverty line in the United States, and since our special "Waiting on the World to Change" aired, the lives of all three have changed (Click here for photos of the children featured in the first special).

America Becomes Ivan's Superman

Ivan said he wanted to become Superman so he could find his family a house. "I want my own room and I'm never going to get it," Ivan said of his family's yearlong struggle to find housing.

He also dreamed of learning to read.

"I wanna go to school so bad. I wanna read," he said excitedly on the first day of kindergarten. But when asked by a school administrator about what he eats each day, Ivan was at a loss for words.

After our special aired, a tidal wave of generosity hit Camden. Donations of everyday necessities including food, clothes, furniture and household appliances poured in. Monetary gifts were placed into a housing and education trust to make sure Ivan and his brother will have their basic needs taken care of, including the monthly rent.

Ivan, who so badly wanted a warm bed to sleep in at night, finally got his wish. In early February, he walked into a cozy two-bedroom apartment and saw the new life America helped create for him.

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