U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Maribel Cano-Meraz, third row, right, then 17, pauses for a group photo with her group after graduating Lincoln’s Challenge Academy, 2007. Cano-Meraz is a first-generation born U.S. citizen, of Mexican descent, who grew up in Chicago in the communities of Hermosa and Humboldt Park. Cano-Meraz grew up in a loving family going on vacations, played softball, basketball and was involved in gymnastics, but she was also exposed to gang violence activity and recruitment during her youth in her local communities. During Women’s History Month, she shares her story of determination to find a better way for herself before becoming a statistic. (Courtesy Photo)