Brooklyn native Nicole Favours wants to change the way the borough’s kids think about guns.
As the executive assistant at Brownsville’s Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center, Favours has overseen the introduction of “It Starts Here,” a program that shows shows middle-schoolers and high-schoolers the effects of gun violence. This Woman of Distinction has firsthand experience with the issue and wants to ensure that others won’t have to live through it themselves.
“I was raised in this area and I saw a lot of my friends get caught up in that life who are no longer here,” she said. “They were still young and their lives are gone. If there’s anything I can do to help change the lives of someone else, I feel like that’s my duty.”
Favours, a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident, started working at Brookdale in 2014, performing tasks such as setting calendars and making appointments. Four years later, she is in charge of marketing, creates partnerships with outside organizations, works on the website, and organized It Starts Here.
Under the program, local schools visit the hospital for a day, listening to a presentation that includes talks from doctors in the trauma department and pictures of gun violence victims. Then, groups of kids are taken to the morgue, where they are shown bodies of people who have died from gunshot wounds.
“It gives them the reality of this is what can happen, that this is not a game,” Favours said.
The program got underway in 2016, when an average of 255 people suffering from gunshot wounds were admitted to the hospital’s emergency room each year, according to Khari Edwards, who is the vice president for external affairs and Favours’s boss.
“She’s the boss behind the boss,” Edwards said. “She’s the heart and soul of this place.”
Favours embarked on an unlikely journey to the hospital — she had been working for a financial corporation in Manhattan for 20 years and one day decided that she wasn’t passionate about the job and wanted to try something else.
After praying for a job in which she could put her skills to work, she received a call from Brookdale offering her a position at the hospital.
Growing up in the area, she said Brookdale was frequently referred to by some not-so-polite terms. But now that she experienced the hospital herself each day, she said that the nicknames were unjustified.
“In working here I’ve seen a completely different place than what’s been described as a kid,” she said. “There’s passionate people who work here and want to change things. We go into the community and let them know this is who we are and can bring them in and show them. The little things will make a larger impact at some point.”
COMPANY: Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center.
CLAIM TO FAME: I don’t take anything lightly and everything is important.
FAVORITE BROOKLYN PLACE: My living room. Everything can happen there.
WOMAN I ADMIRE: My mom, because she is perfectly flawed and she always has my back and is not afraid to call me on my mess.
MOTTO: I’m still breathing.