Davaunni Cole, Six Winners Participant, 14 (South Bronx)

“People I had known when I was younger had died. I always knew gun violence was an issue – something that affected a lot of people. Since being in Six Winners, I realized gun violence is actually a bigger problem than I knew it was; I don’t think I fully understood how far it spread and how many people it truly affected. I feel like if we can get the word out about Guns Down, Life Up and get people behind the message, we can really make change. Because change is needed.” 

Joaquin Phillips, Six Winners Student Ambassador, 14 (Harlem)

“My uncle got shot about 4 months ago. I was going to react. I didn’t care about the cops and all that. But the Six Winners program showed me how to not react, how I should talk it out so I don’t get arrested. I see the T-shirts all over the city, not just in Harlem; even my Dad saw it the other day. The message is spreading.”

Rashaad Lucas, Six Winners Health Ambassador, 16 (Harlem)

“A lot of people I know got shot or were killed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time around Harlem.  I don’t personally know the people shooting, but I know the crowds – the people involved in gang violence. Since being in Guns Down, Life Up, I realize you don’t have to resort to a gun or violence in order to get your point across. I tell my friends, your life is bigger than a game, bigger than these altercations that you get into just because you don’t get along with the other person. It’s not worth losing your life over. I think Guns Down, Life Up is very powerful. It gets that point across.” 

Emmanuel White, Six Winners Participant, 14 (Harlem)

“Before I learned about Guns Down, Life Up, I thought that if someone hurt one of your family members, you should retaliate - probably with gun violence.  Now that I’ve been in the program, I’ve learned that gun violence is not worth it.  I think that Guns Down, Life up is a good name to spread around the streets. When I wear the T-shirt, everyone asks me where I got it. I feel like a trendsetter - like a little star that’s brightening up the streets.”

Ms. Williams, mother of Ronald Hughes III

“My son, Ronald, attends the Guns Down, Life Up program. I came along to a session one night because I had to see for myself what had made such an impact on Ronald. 

When Ronald started at Six Winners, he was still struggling to ride a bicycle on his own because he had become too dependent on having someone on both sides help him to keep his balance. The team at Six Winners recognized Ronald’s good attitude and determination. With their help, he built up his confidence and started working hard at riding on his own.  He fell a few times but he got back up.  Today Ronald can ride by himself and has completed the Central Park loop at least three times.  It makes me so proud. More importantly, it makes me so happy to see Ronald feel so proud of himself.”

Osakwe Beale, Program Director, Six Winners 

“I first became involved with the Harlem Hospital Injury Prevention Program (HHIPP) when I was 13. After I graduated Moorehouse and worked at Bloomberg Financial, I decided I wanted to give back to my community. So I joined HHIPP as a program coordinator at Six Winners. Many of my peers from the program have gone on to do incredible things and we all recognize the value of the mentorship we received as youngsters having a positive effect on our lives now. Four of my friends who were in the program 10 years ago (one of whom is an MTA driver, another an NYPD officer), enjoy visiting the program and often speak to our students to inspire them on their career paths.”