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MAKING A MARK: Group clothes community in change in honor of late friend

A group of men lost their friend to gun violence. Afterwards, they formed T.E.A.M. L.A.M.B. to transform communities through apparel, events, and mentorship.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — This is the story of a team strengthened through tragedy.

"There's nothing bigger than the team or greater than the team. Teamwork makes the dream work," said David Leader, who lost one of his best friends, Cordaro Simpkins, in 2011.

"He would make sure his friends, family, people are taken care of," Leader said.

 "That's what made us feel so empowered to want to keep his name and legacy here, because we knew how much he cared for us."

Leader said Simpkins, nicknamed Lil' Lamb, was shot and killed at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront after one of his friends got into a fight with someone.

"It took a toll on us, because he just had got signed to be a professional boxer," Leader said.

Simpkins' death sparked a desire for Leader and his friends to combat gun violence with something greater.

"We came together, created T.E.A.M. L.A.M.B... which is an acronym that stands for 'Tell Everyone Around Me Love All My Brothers'," Leader said.

T.E.A.M. L.A.M.B. is a brand that includes an apparel line, community events and mentorship programs. Leader said the brand pushes his friend groups message to put the weapons down.

"We just wanted to rally up and have some type of call to action for [Simpkins]," Leader said.

 "[We're] doing more events to help families that have been affected by gun violence."

T.E.A.M. L.A.M.B. partnered with Jodie and Alice Wilson of JuiceBar Juices for shopping and event space.

"We do natural and cold-pressed juices," Jodie said. "The collaboration came because of the community efforts that we both have."

"T.E.A.M. L.A.M.B. brings the element of keeping the community healthy and safe from an external type of view," Alice said. 

"And then we come right in there, linked in with the health side of it-- the internal."

Leader said he and his friends hope they're bringing about change and creating a legacy for Simpkins.

"We definitely want to inspire and also have a trusting relationship with the community from utilizing Cordaro's gift and spirit and having the T.E.A.M. L.A.M.B. badge of honor," Leader said.

The L.A.M.B. Shop is located at the JuiceBar Juices Distribution Center, 5725 Northampton Boulevard in Virginia Beach.

To shop online, visit the T.E.A.M. L.A.M.B. website. You can also learn more about the brand on Instagram and Facebook.

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