ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos safety Will Parks and the team have committed $15,000 to help stop gun violence in Parks' hometown of Philadelphia, through Philadelphia Ceasefire, as well as on a national level.
Parks, who was recognized as one of the Broncos' 2018 Community Ambassadors at a team meeting last week, chose Philadelphia Ceasefire for the National Football League's My Cause, My Cleats initiative. Since arriving in Denver as a sixth-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, Parks has been very vocal about gun violence in his hometown.
"I have always wanted to do something like this, especially for my city, with all the violence and things of that sort going on in Philadelphia," Parks said. "I told myself when I was drafted, if I ever get to a place where I can make some money and use my platform to voice my opinion on certain subjects, then I'll do it.
"I am so thankful that the Broncos have joined me in this commitment to Philadelphia Ceasefire and I look forward to making an impact in my community."
The donation to Philadelphia Ceasefire will increase community awareness surrounding gun violence in addition to encouraging citizens to work together to reduce the level of violence and homicides.
With the goal of helping people engaged in high-risk activities, Philadelphia Ceasefire provides at-risk Philadelphians with support through education or vocational training opportunities. The organization seeks to either prevent activities that may result in violence or provide Philadelphians access to legitimate and legal paths to healthier ways of life.
Housed at Temple University, Philadelphia Ceasefire is a gun violence prevention program that utilizes the Cure Violence Health Model to reduce homicides and shootings in the communities in which it operates. The Cure Violence evidenced-based public health approach is being replicated in more than 35 cities and treats gun violence like a disease. The model is designed to reduce the spread of gun violence by targeting high-risk violent actions and changing community norms that incorporate gun violence as a means to address disputes.
Nationally, homicide represents the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 15-19 and is the leading cause of death for Philadelphians in that same age range.
"We often hear about efforts addressing school and domestic violence as well as mass shootings, but it is rare that a professional athlete uses this kind of platform to speak candidly about the violent acts that occur every single day in their hometown,"Marla Davis Bellamy, Executive Director of Philadelphia Ceasefire, said. "For that reason, we are proud of Will Parks for lending his voice to this effort and for identifying Philadelphia Ceasefire as the recipient of his support."