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“Pacemaker International is not an organization, it is a community. This is the first community I felt at home since I can be myself regardless of my beliefs, my flaws, or even my values.”

Charles Morgan, PACE Fellow 2022

Fantasy, to me, is the world that we create in our heads whenever we think of an ideal situation. In short, fantasy brings the ‘what ifs’ to life. I used fantasy as a coping mechanism. The real world, since I was a kid was too tough for me. I have been raised in poverty-stricken areas and such societies expect a certain level of standard for boys or rather men. They expect men to be strong. They teach men to be providers, protectors, and rigid mentality beings. On the other hand, my principles differ from the principles taught by these communities. I am skinny, making me an easy target for bullies and thugs. My physical strength is not to the standard that society expects from me, and that’s why everyone is usually saying, “Morgan, enda gym.” I always felt like an outsider in these communities and most of all, in my family. This made me seclude myself from the world that I had been placed in and drown deeply in fantasy making my ideal world.

Flash-forward from this point, I was at some place just sitting while deep in thoughts. I received a call from my very dear friend called Abby. We talked and then she mentioned she was doing community service through an organization called Pacemaker International. I just listened and promised her that I would apply to also join. After the call, I forgot completely about the application. She then called after some days and asked me if I applied. I had to lie that I already did, and applied during that call. Of course, she knew I had not applied, because I am not a very good liar.

 She said something that I don’t remember but what I processed was that if you are not dying, then you have to learn how to live. At this point in my life, I had cut off most of my relationships. I had completely secluded myself from the world. And whatever Abby said gave me enough motivation to join Pacemaker International. During the interview is when I realized I had so much to offer kids around my home area; but most importantly, I could offer these kids a different way to think other than what society was teaching them. I am saying this because these kids come from humble backgrounds, and such backgrounds, as I have experienced, come with some brainwashing mentalities that push these kids to crime, drug abuse, and other scary coping mechanisms. It is almost a dream that remains a dream for someone from such areas to accomplish what I have accomplished. I couldn’t see this before but during that interview is when I realized all of this. Pacemaker International has provided me with a platform to improve my mental health by having the social aspect of interacting with other brilliant minds. Pacemaker International has provided these kids (and also myself) in these underserved schools to see there is hope in the world and they are capable of so much if they just believe in themselves. Pacemaker International has helped me to transit from the world of fantasy to the real world. My society and the real world at large might be very cruel and tough, but the organization through its training has provided me with other ways to think about the world.  For me, Pacemaker International is not an organization, it is a community. This is the first community I felt at home since I can be myself regardless of my beliefs, my flaws, or even my values. I love this community for its openness to every type of person. This is my story, courtesy of Pacemaker International Community; THANK YOU PACE!!

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