There is always plenty of talk and debate on how to improve life in Atlantic City.
One way that doesn’t get enough publicity sometimes is what the city’s residents do to help each other.
That’s what Dayshawn Reynolds and Lamont Carson are doing this Sunday.
Reynolds, a 2013 Atlantic City High School graduate, is one of the organizers of the Brothers Over Bullies Flag Football Event. It will be held from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Atlantic City Dolphins field on Penrose Avenue. Admission is free.
“We are the voice of the voiceless,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds, 24, grew up in the Stanley Holmes Village in mid-town. He was a football and basketball standout at Atlantic City High School, leading the Vikings’ basketball team to back-to-back state championships in 2012-13.
Reynolds now works in the city as an assistant preschool teacher at Atlantic City Day Nursery and as a sports and recreation assistant at the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City. Carson, also a 2013 Atlantic City graduate, works as a youth specialist at the Boys and Girls Club.
Reynolds and Carson have seen the impact bullying can have on kids. Reynolds said an 11-year-old Dolphins player committed suicide last year.
“There’s so much going on in the city with our youth,” Reynolds said. “Being caught in violence. But we thought we should shine some more light on bullying. I want to see us all get better. We are the voice of the people who may be too scared to speak up. We are those people.”
The goal Sunday is to create a positive atmosphere where people can be celebrated for being themselves.
“Our mission is to give our youth an opportunity to channel their inner aggression and energy into something positive,” Reynolds said. “We need the community to feel like there’s hope again.”
There will be three flag football tournament divisions — varsity (ages 10-13); high school (ages 14-18) and college (ages 18 and up).
There will be a skills challenge for players 9-and-under.
Reynolds, who scored 10 touchdowns his senior season in 2012 — will be playing in the college division.
“I will be bringing the cleats out,” Reynolds said with a laugh.
Reynolds says he has benefited from several role models and mentors in his life, among them former Atlantic City football coach Thomas Kelly, Vikings boys basketball coach Gene Allen and former boys assistant and now head Atlantic City girls coach Jason Lantz.
“To this day, I can call Coach Allen anytime. He will give me the greatest advice,” Reynolds said. “And the same with Coach Kelly (and coach Lantz). They always made sure I was headed in the right direction.”
Now, Reynolds and Carson want to do the same for others.
Reynolds says Sunday will not be a one-time thing. He and Carson are already planning future activities. Events such as Sunday’s can be the lifeblood of a community.
“This is only the start,” Reynolds said. “We will be coming with more and more.”
Michael McGarry’s Must Win column appears Fridays in The Press.