By Vivian Shipe
KNOXVILLE, TN — Brian Brooks Jr. came in the office of Keira Wyatt, Executive Director of C.O.N.N.E.C.T. Ministries office dressed in his scout uniform covered in the hard earned patches of Troop 213. He is working toward Eagle Scout status – something only 6% of boy scouts ever achieve. He had a vision of the service requirement – he wanted to educate and save lives – he wanted to reduce gun violence in the communities – he wanted it to be free…he just needed a sponsor to believe in his vision stand by him .
He opened his blue folder as he stood before Mrs. Wyatt and began his presentation. When he had finished – He had his sponsor…C.O.N.N.E.C.T. Ministries.
Young Brian is 16-years-old. He is trying to raise the funds to provide 200 gun locks to be given away in the communities hardest hit by gun violence in the city of Knoxville.
The number of deaths by gunfire is projected to be the highest ever recorded by the city with over 30 deaths so far. One of the saddest incidents and one that Brooks feels could have been prevented was the death of a young six- year-old who got hold of a gun at home and accidently shot themselves.
With his Project Peace plan, Brian hopes to reduce these types of tragedies by removing the cost barrier.
Gun Locks may be dropped off or shipped to C.O.N.N.E.C.T. Ministries at 3615 Martin Luther King Avenue, Knoxville.
The website to learn of the project and to donate is www.projectpeace.live
Gunlocks may be ordered through Amazon or you and also donate a 15” keyed cable lock.
Contact information for Brian is firstname.lastname@example.org or through parents at 865-816-9864.
The city has been working to find ways to help reduce the violence, setting aside a million dollars toward the efforts, creation of a team, the Community Engagement Response Team, to become more visible in high crime areas and even working with local organizations to help provide alternatives to youth drawn toward a violent life style. Brooks has stepped up with a viable right-now solution.
His father, Brian Brooks Sr., a strong supporter of his son said, “I am so proud of my son. It takes a lot of hard work to achieve the ranks and earn the merit badges needed to become an Eagle Scout. Only 6% of kids involved with the program make it this far. To become an Eagle Scout you have to create and lead a service project from beginning to end. From budgeting to communication, you own every aspect of the project. Brian approached his project with the question of what would make the biggest impact. Unfortunately, we have had a lot of issues with gun violence in the community. Brian is no stranger to firearms. He loves to shoot at the range, and he has even won marksmanship awards at camp. When deciding on an Eagle Project he approached us about gun safety and what he could do to help stop some of the gun violence. He narrowed it down to providing free gun locks and gun safety information to the community. He calls his project, Project Peace. It has been exciting to see him writing letters to gun lock manufacturers and city officials for support. He has even partnered with CONNECT Ministries as his non-profit beneficiary. He is currently raising funds and plans to distribute the gun locks in late November or early December.”
To support this project follow Brian at www.projectpeace.live