KILLEEN, TX — The I'mPossible Paradigm Shifters Teen Center is a dream that's slowly becoming a reality for Vantonio Fraley.
He’s the first person from his family to graduate not only high school but college too. After his days as an athlete ended in 2013, he decided it was time to return home and change his community for the better.
Having grown up in Killeen, Fraley felt a teen center is a necessity to keep kids out of trouble and teach them valuable life skills.
“From eighth grade, we left the Boys and Girls Club, and the only thing that was left was to sneak into the adult clubs, so that’s what we did," he said.
When you're sneaking around, trouble is easy to find, especially when there isn't much to do. Fraley says this was true when he was a kid and even today.
“I got back here and a lot of teens were being killed, and I wanted to do something about that and see what I could offer,” he said.
It's an idea that's eight years in the making. The I'mPossible Paradigm Shifters Teen Center is what he could offer, a place for kids in Killeen to explore their interests and develop skills.
“You want to make music? You want to design clothes? You want to own a boutique? Guess what? We have plenty of local people here that can teach you the basics of those skill sets,” said Fraley.
For years the Killeen native has been mentoring kids, and believes it only takes a moment to leave a long-lasting impact on a child.
“It’s life-changing for those teens, little do we know,” explained Fraley.
“When I’m having problems, so you know I can call and get advice about something before I do the wrong thing, you know, someone that’s there a listen when no one else is,” said Rodriguez Maxwell.
The 19-year-old is someone Fraley has taken under his wing.
"It’s a place, you know, where we can hang out and get to know each other instead of being in the streets. You know, where it’s more safer and we can be around people that are doing the same things as you,” he said.
Maxwell is even taking on the role of mentor once the center opens.
“I’m into fashion and doing designs and things like tha,t so that will be cool being able to help people out with doing that,” he said.
Fraley says seeing Maxwell's success and his dream unfold in real time means everything.
"It’s been life-changing. It’s been everything. I don’t know if I’m really helping the community or the kids as much as I’m helping myself," he added.
Fraley said he hopes to have a team solidified soon so he can have a soft opening come September. They are hosting their second annual charity golf tournament to bring awareness to military veterans.