As Karlana Morgan stood at the podium, her petite frame standing a little more than 5 feet tall, the candid, upbeat 36-year-old seemed comfortable behind the podium at the recent SPC Foundation Scholarship Luncheon.
Considering her path to the podium, nothing should be unnerving. She exuded complete confidence as she told the audience she was whole, mind, body and soul.
For the SPC Foundation scholarship recipient, being whole means returning from severe brokenness and finding the strength to piece it all together. No longer a victim, but instead a victor, she boldly shares her story to help empower others.
Dr. Law and scholarship recipient Karlana Morgan at Foundation luncheon
Born in Alaska, she moved to Texas when she was a freshman in high school, carrying the scars from years of abuse that began at the age of four. Maybe the move would mean a new beginning for the oldest child and protector of two younger siblings. Sadly, Texas would only prove to be a continuation of abuse, but this time there would be a new character contributing.
“It was I guess a year after we moved to Texas that I was raped by my boyfriend,” Morgan said. “That was just devastating because school was my outlet, school was my safe place and then all of a sudden now I have an enemy at school.”
Morgan’s road to wholeness was not easy; she was met with many obstacles, including a suicide attempt to stop the pain of a second rape committed by a stranger. But something in her soul knew differently, she still had much left to do. Dying would have meant killing a voice that would later impact others.
It was time to begin a new life and her education would be a good start. Now a survivor, Morgan is working to attain her Associate of Arts degree and “is on a determined path” that she wants to end with a bachelor’s degree from USF in Mass Communications.
As she stood at the podium, thanking donors for the $1,500 Nadine and Dan Carlisle “New Life” Educational Grant, she marveled at how closely she has come to her vision. Morgan realizes her dreams are within reach.
“I started at SPC last spring and it has just allowed me confidence in myself. It has allowed me to see that I am somebody and that I have an opportunity to make a difference,” Morgan said.
With dreams of becoming a life empowerment teacher, Morgan’s scholarship donors have helped drive her dreams a little bit closer.
“I had my old car for 12 years, it had over 182,000 miles I think, so I knew I had to get a new car and didn’t know how it would happen,” she said. “The money helped with the down payment on a new, reliable car. It helped me with financial stress. It’s made all the difference in the world.”
Seeing the transformation of her life has made Morgan more fervent in her goal to empower other abuse victims.
“I signed a contract that said my soul is strong enough to endure and go through all of this,” she said. “It’s for a reason, and every time I speak out somebody comes up to me and either has not found their voice or can relate to my story in some way and that’s
powerful, it gives me strength to just keep going.”
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