SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Semaj Clark's life changed the first time he was in Savannah.
Now he is back, trying to change lives here. Trying to change the city, really.
"I'm just trying to catch kids at a young age," said Clark. "I try to teach them stuff and break the cycle that's going on."
Clark becoming a victim of that cycle of violence in Savannah could become the catalyst to end it.
The 19 year old from California was in town for a community safety forum last October when he was shot and left paralyzed. But the incident did not dampen Clark's passion for helping others or scare him away from this city he is still getting to know.
"I just felt like I had to," he said of returning to Savannah to work as an anti-violence activist. "I couldn't run away. I say this all the time, but our former leaders, they didn't run when it started getting tough, they stayed."
Clark is working with Reverend Thurmond Tillman and the First African Baptist Church, speaking with people individually or in groups, anywhere he can spread his message that people have to stop hurting each other.
"I've gotten a couple of offers to go speak at some middle schools, some elementary schools and some group homes and shelters," said Clark. "I'm just going around and telling my story and trying to inspire them to change like I changed."
Clark calls this his hometown now.
"Oh, yeah," he says, "I'm in Savannah to stay."
And he can be called a hero for how he has chosen to help this city, a WTOC Hometown Hero.