MARK Prince has launched the Inspiring Future Champions campaign as he continues to tackle the dangers of knife crime.
Mark’s son Kiyan was tragically stabbed to death outside his school while trying to beak up a fight in 2006. Since then, Mark has worked tirelessly to combat the growing issue of violence on London’s streets.
As part of that, he has developed Inspiring Future Champions which aims to address the root causes of violence and knife crime by delivering motivational talks across all London boroughs within the next three years.
This began at St John’s XXIII Primary School, located a short distance from QPR’s Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
Mark spoke with children aged nine and ten from three different schools all assembled together. They listened intently as he told them of his own story and how they can avoid the dangers of gang-related crimes.
Following his 30-minute talk, which brought laughter and tears from the children, Mark told www.qpr.co.uk: “It was exciting and emotional.
“It is always difficult when you have a group of young children and you are looking to plant a seed for good in their lives.
“It is a huge responsibility so every word has to come from the heart and has to be carefully considered.
“These guys are under 11 so you have to make sure your message is powerful without filling their young minds with fear.
“The feedback from the children was great. They told me afterwards that they were filled with self-belief.”
Mark is keen to spread his word far and wide, and added: “I think it is important that Inspiring Future Champions gets out to all schools, both primary and secondary, because children need this.
“As much as the campaign is used to make them aware of knife crime and to stand against it, this is also about self-esteem.
“You can easily get drawn into gangs and carrying knives because you are looking to belong – but when you put value in yourself you know you are far too valuable to get into the wrong company.
“I have done so much research into this and Inspiring Future Champions is the solution.”
Karen Cunningham, the headteacher at St John’s XXIII, added: “it was a pleasure to welcome Mark to our school.
“He spoke passionately, motivating the children to believe in themselves and to be the best they could be.
“He inspired them to stand up for what is wrong and to be the person who makes a difference. He made them laugh, smile, and also shed a tear.
“Mark’s visible emotion when he talked about knife crime and the loss of Kiyan, in such a tragic way, touched the hearts of our children.
“They received a clear message about the dangers of knife crime and the heartache it can cause. It was an assembly that our children will always remember and a message they will carry in their hearts for a life time.”
Paul Mitchell, QPR in the Community Trust’s Education Manager, was also in attendance and he explained: “The message Mark puts across is something that primary schools are engaging with more and more because of the ages of young people who are getting involved in gang activity.
“Mark is very much focused on a prevention-rather-than-cure method. There is no doubt that it’s a strong message that he is putting across and sadly it needs to happen.
“This age group is perfect because Mark can warn them about the potential dangers they may face.”
If you would like to learn more about Inspiring Future Champions, click here.