KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Five students at the University of Tennessee are raising money for the organization, Drums Up, Guns Down.

Julian McCoy, Calvin Swinford, Cole Burnett, Andrew Unold and Olivia Stack were tasked with raising money for a local organization for a class project. They chose Drums Up, Guns Down after learning about their mission.

“It relates to something happening right now in our community, and I think because its happening right now and it’s so new we can really make a difference with it,” Unold said.

Drums Up, Guns Down was designed to help stop the cycle of violence in the community. Kids involved with the program study and perform traditional West African drum rhythms and learn related history and culture.

The students said they wanted to choose an organization that meant something to them.

“Even though this was an assignment for a class we were doing, we still wanted to do something that we felt like we were making a difference, and we went through a lot of organizations of all different types and we felt this one was definitely the most beneficial, especially in the city of Knoxville,” Burnett said.

Drums Up Guns Down was founded after three Austin East Magnet High School students were killed within a three-week period. Julian McCoy said the organization’s mission was personal to him.

“It kind of spoke to me, because I kind of had a lot of friends that went to Austin East and a lot of them had been affected by the violence in the community, so I just wanted to help out that part of the community,” McCoy said.

The money the students are raising is going towards sending kids to the organization’s summer camp. Obayana Ajanaku is the founder of Drums Up Guns Down and said this year will be the 19th time they’ve held the camp.

“Kuumba Camp is an arts-based camp, we do West African drum, West African dance, we do conditioning, we’re going to add gardening this year, and we keep the kids for seven weeks, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day, Monday through Friday,” Ajanaku said.

He said the camp aims to curb violence in the community by giving kids an outlet.

“That’s the goal and also to keep the kids safe and have fun and keep them in a safe environment, and just teach them about how to deal with their emotions, how to be leaders, conflict resolution, all those things,” he said.

The students have already surpassed their original fundraising goal.

“Right now we’re about at $1,500, and it’s $500 to send each kid to camp, and we’re trying to get to at least $2,000,” Swinford said.

The students will be collecting donations through May 9.