Fayetteville mom of slain teen finds purpose through giving back

Akilah Davis Image
Saturday, August 17, 2019
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Fayetteville mom of slain teen finds purpose through giving back

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Sept. 5, 2018, is a day Erika Vilaro will never forget. Since then, it's been difficult.

It's the day her son died.

"It's a roller coaster I'll never get off of. One day I feel like I need to get up because he's going to call me. The next I don't want to get out of bed because I know he's not going to," said Vilaro, of her late son Johnathon Scott Chavis.

Fayettevile police told ABC11 that Chavis was killed by 18-year-old Michael Toler. They were playing with guns.

After his death, Vilaro devoted countless hours to searching for purpose in life to fill that void.

"He developed a love for music at a very early age. I want to help raise money to make sure the kids in the band have their fees covered. If there is equipment needed, they have the means to do it," said Vilaro.

Chavis was a member of the Southern Sounds of Soul Marching Band at Seventy-First High School.

"This could be a healing process where they are keeping something alive that he loved so much," said Seventy-First High School Band director Nicole Collins.

The fundraiser is a huge contribution for band students who knew and loved Chavis.

"What she's doing is helping so many kids especially in the band. I personally know a lot of people who need to be here. They really want to be here," said band student Atreyu McLaurin.

The fundraiser is set for September 5, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Bubba's 33 in Fayetteville.