Karl is a 29-year-old Belizean, born and raised in Belize. He went through a rough patch in his early years, getting into trouble which he describes as the singular worst experience of his life. After having moved away from that he talks about how taking up a leadership position in one of the organizations has helped him change his perspective towards life, expand his horizons and reach his personal goals.

When I overcame the difficult years in my life, I was 26-years-old and I found myself with a different mindset. I had many goals at that time and I’m still trying to accomplish them. I really want to be a nurse. The most important thing to me is helping people, being the voice for people who don’t have a voice or in the sense of standing up for my community that are not only marginalized but discriminated against. When I was offered this leadership position, I jumped at it. I was a very shy person and being a leader was a quality that I always wanted to attain.

Being a leader is important to me because my communities are very vulnerable community. We tend to settle for systemic abuse or, hetero-normal abuse a lot. Educating my community about not only standing up for themselves or standing up for something that they believe in, is relevant in this day and age. As a leader, I believe that I play a major role in the community because sometimes, well, every day on my social media platforms, I get a lot of messages from people from the community who needs help in various ways. Maybe they’re being discriminated at work, maybe they’re going to depression, or maybe they’re going to stuff at home but they can’t really do anything about it because they’re underage. I don’t give advice, but I give solutions and maybe how they can work around it. Being that I have been in that place once and I’m a little bit older and more mature, I could give a little bit of insight on what they can do to work around the issue.

I was elected as a leader and the community has empowered me in the sense of looking up to me as a leader, and that means a lot to me. I feel like I have a place in the community more than ever. We’re all humans, and we strive for love, we strive for affection, we strive for belonging. I feel like none of us likes to feel left out, alone, sad, or depressed. I believe like belonging to a group or belonging to someone or something, it gives you a sense of peace

As a leader I have also learned something else. At the moment, I hold three things in the strongest regard with respect to my own well-being – My health, my sanity, and my freedom. Sometimes, there’s a thin line where you forget about yourself and get too much in serving the community that you serve. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, but at the end of the day, sometimes, you end up yourself needing someone to talk to or people to help you unpack this stuff that you’ve accumulated over the years. These are the main parts of my life that I feel I have developed recently, thanks to my involvement with the organization.