Traci, 25, is from South Philadelphia. His life changed last year when his 21-year-old brother, Semaj Carter, was shot and killed after driving home from a basketball game.
"Super smart, super funny, just an amazing kid, man, had an amazing heart," said Traci about his brother, who had recently become a father.
Traci and his family were devastated by the loss. His basketball coach invited him to a trip to Ocean City to clear his head before the funeral arrangements took place. There, Traci met Jimmy Newfrock, who had always wanted to start a camp for kids.
"They have resilience. They just need a chance to do something different," said Newfrock about the youth population.
Thus, in 2020, the duo created "Anchors Camp" in an effort to keep the ship stable in the turbulent waters of city violence.
"It hasn't been a year yet and we already run four camps with 40 kids," said Newfrock.
Participants sign up for a getaway at Newfrock's farm in Madison, New York, where they learn trade skills akin to plumbers, electricians, and more. They also get a chance to learn horseback riding and other hands-on skills.
"It'll change you how it changed me and my perspective," said Haneef Davis, 17, from North Philadelphia.
Haneef enjoyed his experience with Anchors Camp to the point where he intends to return next year as a counselor.
Tragically, Haneef's family was also recently affected by gun violence in Philadelphia. 25-year-old Jhalil Shands, his older brother, was murdered on April 5th earlier this year.
"I didn't take it easy, but I had to take it," said Haneef. "It's life. You've got to go through it."
Traci hopes that his new program will increase the amount of opportunities available for the youth to find their path to a successful and safe future.
"We give them alternative options and expose them to different things, that way they can broaden their horizons," he said.
Part of that goal manifested today at Chew Playground in South Philadelphia, where community organizations gathered for a food and music festival. Traci's goal was to facilitate connections between residents and resources that can aid those in need.
"Change doesn't happen by one person," he said. "Change is a community thing. And that's exactly what this is."
To learn more about Anchors Camp, visit their website.
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