FORT MYERS, Fla.- It’s not prime real estate, but Erick and Olivia Walker are excited about their new home.
“We ain’t even got furniture, but we’re happy and we sleep here every night,” said Olivia Walker.
Their new address, 2147 Davis Court, is located on a street that’s been named one of the most dangerous in Fort Myers. It’s in the heart of Harlem Lakes, a community that’s seen an increase in gun violence recently. Seven people were shot just hours apart on Davis Court in September.
The Walkers admitted they were aware of the community’s reputation, but didn’t let fear stop them.
“We want to transform this community into a community to where people can get up early in the morning and they can take a lap around the community without being scared. [Where] they can say ‘Hey, how are you doing today?’ Just a typical neighborhood to where people feel comfortable living,” said Erick Walker.
They just moved in two weeks ago, but say they want to make sure their neighbors know they’re here to help. Something the couple says has become a part of their lifestyle.
The two founded a nonprofit organization called Transformers Club, in May 2014, meant to mentor kids in urban communities and help prevent them from turning to violence.
“We choose to make a difference in life. We could be boujie and keep our windows closed, as a matter of fact, we were even offered a security system with video and all that, for what? We don’t want to be those kind of neighbors.”
The two tell WINK News they’ve seen similar issues firsthand, growing up in a drug-ridden community in Miami. They said it’s difficult to overcome a lifestyle many are born into, and hope that reaching out to their neighbors will help show them other opportunities off the streets.
“Somebody’s just gotta be brave enough to teach them and let them know, ‘hey you’re loved. You’re important.'”
Olivia says it means the world to her, and the risk will always be worth it.