Paying it Forward

In Feature Stories, September 2016 by Mandy HowardLeave a Comment

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For years, the last thing quarterbacks facing the Wolfpack wanted to see was Carl Reeves coming. Reeves’ incredible quickness and drive off the line earned him a reputation for game changing plays.

Today, he directs that drive to tackling social problems in the community. Working with Crossroads Ford, Reeves has access to all NC State home games. And though he makes it clear that he is once and always a member of the Wolfpack brotherhood, he uses the games for more than reliving his days on the field. 

8nESB9U5 “With all the tragedies and mess going on, you’ve got to do something about it, so I take young men to the game and I say, ‘This is what science and math will get you,’” he says. And he expects the kids he mentors to work hard to excel in these subjects. “I’m showing you what science and math will get you. You don’t have science and math, you’re not getting into State.”

A hometown hero originally from Durham, Reeves feels strongly about giving back. He has been taking at-risk youth to games for nearly 16 years. He met one young man at the age of 13 who wanted to play football. “I gave him a piece of paper with 5 a.m., noon and 11 p.m. written on it. I told him, ‘Copy this 7 times, fill it out with how your spending your time for a week and bring it back to me, then I’ll help you,’” he recounts.

That young man is now a graduate of Harvard University. 

“If I can teach you to manage your time, the rest will fall in place. Dreams have a tendency to float off into the ether. A goal is a dream with a deadline,” he says. “If I can teach you how to beat a deadline, I can tell you how to reach your dream. I don’t care what your dream is, I just want to know how bad you want it.”

He knows that his path isn’t possible for many so he encourages kids to focus on academics, reminding us that football is a luxury for many kids.

“Mama’s at work, she doesn’t have time to run you up and down the road for football. That’s a luxury when you’re trying to keep the lights on. I want you to read. A great gentleman once told me, ‘You want to keep the rich rich and the poor poor? Put the secret in a book, because the poor man will never take the time to open up the book to see what the keys to success are,” he says.

For anyone inspired to mentor, Reeves insists it’s not hard, or expensive:  “You can have a relationship for a lifetime, just take a kid to a movie and take them to McDonald’s. Use the movie to create conversation and to process. When I teach a young man how to process, I’ll use scripture. I’ll say, this is what the Bible says, this is what the movie says, what say you? At that point I’m not saying a lot. I’m asking questions.”

An ordained minister for a decade, Reeves also preaches in prisons. “I take the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the darkest corners of society,” Reeves says. Despite the continued and inspiring work. Reeves remains humble and says simply, “You can talk about it, or you can be about it. That’s it.”

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