Gang member to future doctor – Pacheco shares his story Oct. 16

The life of Juan Pacheco reflects hope, despair, and redemption for one man who summoned the will to change himself and his world.

Northeast State’s Cultural Activities Committee welcomes Pacheco to share his story on Thursday, Oct. 16 at 12 noon and 7 p.m. at the College’s Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the main campus in Blountville.

Pacheco’s motivation comes from his own life experiences. As a youth he was involved in gang activity, a path that cost him many things. His best friend’s life was taken away by gang violence. He had a full scholarship from the Early Identification Program into George Mason University that was also taken away. He spent some time in jail in which his freedom was stripped away due to his actions.

Juan Pacheco
Juan Pacheco

But Pacheco turned his life around. He now attends George Mason to attain his pre-med degree. He wants to become a pediatrician in the future. All of his education has been paid with hopes and hard work and through scholarships, since his parents have not been able to help out financially due to the economic strain that many immigrants go through in the northern Virginia area.

Pacheco worked as community Liaison for World Vision’s Community Mobilization Initiative (CMI). His role in World Vision helped the CMI Program earn the title of “Best Practices in Gang Prevention Program” highlighted in the study “Dare to Care – Community-Based Responses to Youth Gang Violence in Central America and Central American Immigrant Communities in the United States.”

Pacheco has invested his life working and volunteering for a violence prevention/intervention and community awareness organization.  His strategies for successful community and youth work come out of his own experiences as a gang member, and now as someone who is working to help other young people turn their lives around.

Pacheco’s presentation is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

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