After spending majority of his life in and out of prison, Shannon Smith Sr. is turning his attention to the next generation.

Smith grew up in downtown Erie at the corner of 21st and parade street. 

"I was that student the teacher told, in 5 years you'll be dead or in jail," said Smith.

As one of 15 children, he relied heavily on his family growing up.

"It helped me a lot because coming in this world like I came in, I didn't think I could be loved."

In just the past couple years, Smith has lost 4 nephews to gun violence. Now that he is fully employed and has a family of his own, Smith is working to be a positive role model to his grandchildren and the kids in the community.

"Once you pull that trigger, your whole life is over. It's going to take a different turn. It's a ripple effect when that bullet hits that person. You're not only hurting that person, you're hurting everyone that loved that person."

Growing up, Smith was bullied a lot. He realized that if someone would've stuck up for him, he wouldn't have made the bad decisions that he did.

"I was a hurt person, hurting people back. Hurt people hurt people," said Smith

Now, Shannon Smith Sr. does his part to help kids in the community have a role model and choose a better path.

"We have to lead by example. I'm trying to show the kids that, listen, I went from a negative to a positive. I found my purpose. And my purpose is helping these kids and giving back to my community. . . I did it from my heart. I never did it for attention. I did it because I understood that kid who didn't have anything."