Fred Walker (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

Fred Walker: ‘I want to save lives’

Fred Walker is trying to help children in York’s roughest areas escape a life of violence.

Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Fred Walker (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

Fred Walker remembers the text he sent the young man he tried so hard to help: “I hope you understand the decision that you’re making.”

Just a few weeks earlier, he worked with the teen’s probation officers and found him a new opportunity in Philadelphia. The boy was caught up in York’s gun violence and even served time in jail, but Fred saw a brighter future for him.

Not long after the boy left for Philadelphia, though, he came back to York and the life Fred hoped he’d escaped.

“I was emotional,” Fred says. “I felt like a failure. My cousin picked me up and told me, ‘This is what we do. You’re not going to be able to help every person, but you have to try.’”

***

Fred sees a lot of himself in kids caught in York’s violence.

He grew up during the late ’80s in a rough section of North Philadelphia in a broken home with a mother on drugs.

I just want to help be a mentor or a way out for others in the community.

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Fred Walker

Brawls broke out on the basketball courts, he says, and the Junior Black Mafia ran the city.

He’s dealt with multiple shootings and lost family members to violence.

“There’s times that I thought I wouldn’t make it past those summers,” Fred remembers.

He escaped the streets by serving in the Army. He later graduated college and currently works for the Department of Defense.

“I didn’t have anyone reach out their hand to me,” Fred says. “If I didn’t have a drive, I would have never made it out.”

***

About a year ago, Fred joined The Movement, a York-based grass roots organization with a variety of services from giving Pampers to mothers to advocating for housing services.

With The Movement, he’s heeded his cousin’s advice and is trying to help everyone he can.

“I want to save lives,” Fred says. “I just want to help be a mentor or a way out for others in the community.”

Click here to learn more about The Movement

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