By Kimberly Davis

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A family is turning pain into hope after losing their little boy to gun violence. Zamar Jones was shot and killed while playing on his front porch last year. The little boy who dreamed of being a police officer would have turned 8 years old on Tuesday.

Zamar would have been 8 years old today if his life wasn’t cut short last August. His family has since moved from that neighborhood, and today was all about having fun in Zamar’s honor.

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“People who come are tired of seeing the news every day about our babies dying,” Saj Purple Blackwell said. “So I’m part of a coalition that wants to make change.”

Not only do these grassroots organizations want to make a change, but they take action.

Tuesday afternoon, multiple organizations teamed up to celebrate Zamar’s birthday at the Granahan Recreation Center. Children enjoyed basketball, painting, skating, and snacks while observing what would’ve been Zamar’s 8th birthday.

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“He was a real fun kid. He was really, really fun,” Jennifer Lee, Zamar’s mom, said. “Everybody loved him no matter how bad he was, how good he was. Everybody loved him.”

Zamar was playing on his front porch at his West Philadelphia home on August 1 when a stray bullet from a shootout struck him in the head. He died two days later.

His mother says she’s remaining strong for Zamar’s siblings.

“I have to be because if I’m not, they’re not strong,” Lee said. “So I have to be.”

But it’s hard to be that strong for that long.

Police were able to make three arrests in connection to Zamar’s murder, which helps bring closure for his mother, but the same can’t be said for her remaining children.

“I don’t have much closure for my kids because they’re still going through a lot,” Lee said.

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Those three men are facing multiple charges including murder and tampering with evidence.

Kimberly Davis