Foundation to honor child homicide victim by helping others
Family and friends of Jaeden Sharpe, the 9-year- old who last month became Durham’s first murder victim of 2014, have started a nonprofit foundation to help children impacted by violence.
Founded in remembrance of the popular young boy who attended W.G. Pearson Elementary School, the JJ Sharp Impact Foundation will also build a scholarship program to assist children and families affected by violence with tuition and other college-related expenses.
In addition to the scholarship program, the foundation will work to reach children impacted by violence through athletics, community outreach, education, counseling and mentoring.
“A lot of people have dropped this and we want people to know he [Jaeden] had an impact on us and we want to have an impact on other people as well,” said Valerie Brown, whose daughter Vallyn Brown was Jaeden’s godmother.
Sharpe, the son of 31-year-old Lakeisha Holloway, was shot Jan. 4 in a sports utility vehicle on Lucas Drive and died Jan. 9.
Holloway suffered serious wounds during the incident, which police have said does not appear to have been random.
Everett Lamont Graves, 23, of Elmira Avenue, the suspect in the shooting incident turned him self in Jan. 23. He was charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury.
Meanwhile, the foundation is preparing for its first major event.
It will partner with D3 Community Outreach Inc., a local nonprofit whose mission is to reach disconnected youth and young adults through academics, service, entrepreneurship and athletics, on Feb. 15 for D3’s Annual Charity Basketball Game to help raise awareness and funds to support mentoring, tutoring and scholarship programs.
“I believe that this is a great opportunity to bring awareness to a growing problem in our community and we are excited to assist in any way possible,” said Malcolm Reed, founder of D3.
The charity games will be at the Emily Krzyzewski Family Center. “We’re all working toward peace in Durham,” Brown said.
During the charity basketball game, which will feature adult and youth teams sponsored by local businesses, all players will wear JJ Sharpe Impact T-shirts.
The T-shirt line was created and designed by Sharpe and his older brother Justin, one day before Sharpe was killed.
“It was just supposed to be a fun thing,” Brown said of the T-shirt line. “Jaeden was excited about the shirt he and Justin made that night, and he was looking forward to going to school on Monday to show off his new clothing line. The next night, the dream went awry.”