Mr. Pacheco has invested his life working and volunteering (since 2005 Barrios Unidos East Coast has not received formal funding) as the East coast Representative for Barrios Unidos, a youth violence prevention/intervention and community awareness organization. Barrios Unidos believes that by drawing upon the resources of adults and older youth that have made it out of the “street life,” youth are helped to choose life-affirming behavior, positive self-esteem, constructive goals, supportive community, and cultural pride. Mr. Pacheco worked as community Liaison for World Vision’s Community Mobilization Initiative (CMI). His role in World Vision helped the CMI Program attain 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.” He most recently served in the nation’s capital at the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) as Community Peace Mobilizer and Youth Leadership Coordinator, where he is most proud of encouraging and assisting youth to develop the Latino Youth Leadership Council and together as a family becoming published authors of the award-winning graphic novel, “Voces Sin Fronteras: Our Stories, Our Truth”. Mr. Pacheco believes that this youth & community-led movement and book are windows and mirrors to the beauty, purpose, and value of immigrants in the America we ought to be.


From Gang Member to Scholar…What Does it Take??

Mr. Pacheco’s motivation comes from his own life experience. As a youth he was involved in a gang which took many things away from him. His best friend’s life was taken away by gang violence. He had a full-time scholarship from the Early Identification Program in George Mason University that was also taken away. He spent some time in jail in which his human right of freedom was stripped away due to his actions. But this is where his motivation comes from! Mr. Pacheco changed his life around. Education became his new passion and weapon. He began from the bottom, starting at Northern Virginia Community College, eventually earning a place at George Mason University where he attained degrees in biology, nursing and psychology reaching Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude academic honors. He is currently studying for his GRE as he hopes to attain a Masters in Public Health and eventually work internationally to improve education, gang prevention & intervention programs, and challenge the School to Prison Pipeline. Mr. Pacheco believes that dreams are worth fighting for and he has. 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.


Cultivating Immigrant Youth Voice and Power Through Bilingual Comics: “Voces Sin Fronteras” is Breaking Borders

Join the mentors and students of the Latino Youth Leadership Council as they discuss their experience in creating “Voces Sin Fronteras”, a graphic novel that inspires, motivates, and educates its readers, and that changes the narrative about America’s immigrants.

The book, presented in this lecture/panel, with its side-by-side English/Spanish text, serves many purposes. It is a social justice tool that gives youth who generally go unnoticed and whose voices are unheard, a platform to be heard. The book is also an educational tool that informs, engages, and inspires its readers and, most importantly, provides hope to other immigrant youth facing similar circumstances. Furthermore, it is an English-learning tool that can and will empower countless youth to learn English and/or Spanish. It is also a healing tool that social workers, counselors, and therapists can use in their work with immigrant youth. Finally, the book is a fundraising tool; proceeds will support the Voces Sin Fronteras Scholarship Fund that benefits recently arrived immigrant youth to begin their dreams to set foot in a college/university.

Purpose: A community engagement panel to have an open conversation about immigration stories and educate participants about the different struggles Latino immigrant youth face, the gifts they bring with them, and the dreams they hope to accomplish in their new home. Culturally relevant personal bilingual stories are effective tools to engage dialogue around the topic of migration.

Activities: (Panel, Reading, Q&A, opening and closing remarks)

Panel of immigrant youth authors of graphic memoir collection Voces Sin Fronteras will discuss their motivations for sharing their stories and the process of creating this book as an educational and advocacy platform. Mentors from LYLC and/or Shout Mouse Press will moderate discussion.

Why should you attend?

This project is timely, ambitious, and a much-needed addition to current national discussions about who we are as a country. To the educators, social workers, and other adults entrusted with young hearts and minds: We invite you to unleash the power of this book with the youth you serve. Use it as a culturally relevant transformational tool that can cultivate the healing of trauma, the building of community, and the igniting of a fire to fight for social justice.