South Philly reporter and podcast host visited Atlantic City this weekend

Carlos Aponte (left) and Jason Peters prepare for their walk at Cherry Street Pier on Friday afternoon. | Photo by Tom Beck.

On April 24, 2019, at the end of the first season of his podcast, Jason Peters, a reporter in Philadelphia and host of the 2100 podcast, made a promise. If his podcast racked up 15,000 downloads, it would walk from Philadelphia to Atlantic City.

“It was a pipe dream back then,” said Peters.

Fast forward to last Friday and Peters, a South Philly resident, wore a pair of very comfortable Skechers walking shoes at Cherry Street Pier.

“The only thing I did to get ready was buy these shoes,” Peters said. “I watched blogs for, like, three minutes.”

The Skecher, of course, were bought to prepare for the march. Peters has since exceeded its target of 15,000 downloads.

“We are way above that,” he said. “I’m over 40,000 years old and decided that I was going to take the walk and rather than doing it for no reason, I would do it for a cause.”

That’s where Carlos Aponte, executive director of We Love Philly comes in.

Carlos Aponte (left) and Jason Peters present their Philly to AC t-shirts at Cherry Street Pier on Friday afternoon. | Photo by Tom Beck.

“Jason got the idea [for the walk], and then it came to me, ”Aponte said. “I think he needed words of encouragement because I’m the positive guy and I was like, well, if you ask me, I think we should focus on education and involve the students.”

After speaking with Aponte, Peters decided to take the walk to raise awareness and fundraise for We Love Philly, which is a non-profit organization that runs a high school accredited program designed to empower students by using their content creation, mindfulness and community volunteering, and community engagement skills. .

On top of that, Aponte decided to join Peters on his walk.

“I said to Carlos and he said, ‘I’m going to walk with you. Let’s do it together, ”said Peters.

We Love Philly was specifically looking to raise $ 30,000 for an initiative called Project Ownership. The money is intended for the purchase of a sea container, which will be turned into a house. Students in the Project Management class will list the house on Airbnb and take care of it every semester.

“The students will do all the work, maintain it, use it to make money, learn about the property, the property’s value and all of that in the process,” Aponte said. “It’s about teaching people real life skills. “

So on Friday night at 6 p.m., Peters and Aponte walked out of Cherry Street Pier and headed for the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. They walked about 15 miles that night, another 21 on Saturday, and completed the remainder of the 62-mile trip on Sunday as they dipped their feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

“It was freezing cold,” said the anticlimactic Aponte in an interview after the walk with SPR Monday morning.

Among the people who greeted them at the beach were several students from We Love Philly and a drumline.

Aponte and Peters spent Sunday night at Peters Seaside.

“I told Carlos I won’t be leaving the house today,” Peters said Monday. Peters added that the hardest part of the trip was the last 5 miles, during which they could see the high-rise hotels and casinos, but were still relatively far away.

“It’s absolutely brutal because you’re so close and yet so far,” Peters said.

By the end of the trip, We Love Philly had raised $ 12,800 to reach their goal of $ 30,000.

There were only a handful of hiccups throughout the trip. For example, the shoes Peters bought for the trip turned out to be less than ideal.

Luke Benato delivered a pristine pair of brand new New Balances to Peters late Saturday night. | Photo by Shareef Mohammed.

“Both of my feet are completely covered in blisters,” he said. Peters tweeted that he would pay $ 100 plus the cost of new shoes to anyone who brought him sneakers on the trip. Within hours, a 25-year-old man named Luke Benato arrived with a pair of New Balance running shoes on Saturday night.

The only other hiccup was when a “crazy person,” as Peters put it, pulled a knife at him and Aponte as they drove past The Lamp Motel along White Horse Pike.

“He was just a crazy person,” Peters said. “We ran away. “

Above all, Peters and Aponte are mostly happy that the whole event is now behind them.

“Yesterday was a series of achievements,” said Peters. “We walked a marathon [on the last day of the walk], which none of us have ever done. I was just happy to be done with it.

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