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Check Out Sharmaine Brown’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharmaine Brown. 

Hi Sharmaine, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Jared’s Heart of Success was birthed after the untimely death of my son Jared whose life was cut short by senseless gun violence. Jared did not get a chance to celebrate his 24th birthday; he died two weeks prior on July 11, 2015. Jared was returning home from work when he received a call from a friend inviting him to attend a cookout. Enroute to the cookout he was struck by a stray bullet. As a result, he died instantly from the gunshot wounds sustained.

Nearly a year later after much prayer, I founded and started Jared’s Heart of Success Inc., a 501(c)3 award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for gun violence prevention through education and youth empowerment nationally. Jared’s Heart of Success provides prevention and empowerment programs to youth and young adults male and female. We strive to enhance the lives of individuals through enrichment programs that serve and inspire individual advancement. Our programs result in the increase of self-confidence, educational and personal development.

Today, six years later, I continue to advocate for public safety measures to prevent gun violence with partner organizations such as Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and Sandy Hook Promise. As a member of the Everytown Survivor Network, I share my story with the public and inform others on how they too can become involved in the gun violence prevention movement. Also, serving on the school advisory committee for Sandy Hook Promise I partner with local schools to implement SAVE Promise Clubs which is an initiative of SHP.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Some challenges we face include operating within an uncertain funding environment, and expectation from funders to partner with other providers who are also competitors.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As a Grief & Trauma-Informed Crisis Intervention Counselor, I have been working with youth to help them address the grief, trauma and violence which they are faced with daily.

At Jared’s Heart of Success, we use a trauma-informed approach which not only utilizes trauma-specific interventions, but it also incorporates key trauma principles into the organizational culture.

Many of the students that have participated within our organization have never left their perspective zip code and with our national partnerships they have been given many opportunities to advocate on a national level speaking to congress and have become confidence leaders and now advocate for themselves, their peers, schools and for their own communities.

I’m most proud of seeing the growth and development in the life of each youth that we have had the opportunity to mentor at Jared’s Heart of Success, and we have witnessed the success of several that have graduated. Many are now in college and are serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Jared L. Brown Memorial Scholarship opens to the public annually from February through May of the current year.

Annual Scholarship Opportunity in honor of Jared L. Brown. The scholarship is a one-time, $500.00 scholarship awarded annually to a graduating senior who is the survivor of gun violence or who has lost an immediate family member to gun violence.

This award recognizes the importance of educating students whose lives have been impacted by preventable gun violence.

For more information visit https://www.jaredsheartofsuccess.org/scholarship.

Another initiative of Jared’s Heart of Success Community Outreach, we host an annual “Bags for Success Campaign” and give free school supplies to youth returning to school in South Carolina and Georgia during the month of July, the dates and location will be announced on our website.

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Sharmaine Brown

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