Cory Reeves wants to offer different athletic programs for area youth. Programs that will give them physical awareness, starting from within themselves.
With help from Carson City Christian Fellowship, Reeves is forming the Carson City New Life Center, 645 N. Edmonds Lane. He wants to bring these programs free of charge to the youth of Carson City, Gardnerville, Minden, and anyone else in need.
"Many children from the age of 5, have difficulty identifying with themselves," said Reeves. "There is a separation from the parents as early as the age of 5. And these kids think that the way to deal with it is from the outside. So they change their appearance. They body pierce, shave their heads, color their hair. That's not how to do it. The problem's not on the outside, it's inside.
"So what we want to do, is offer these different athletic programs to help change the path they are on, and starting from within, offer them physical awareness. We know there's a way to help kids and we want to offer more than athletics."
Reeves, with the assistance of the Rev. Patrick Propster of the Carson City Christian Fellowship, is pooling resources along with other local agencies to help area youth. They want to offer counseling to obtain diplomas and GEDs, employment, residence, and help them to build and sustain relationships with their families. They are also looking into pregnancy counseling and biblical advice, but will not be offering religion. They will give insight through God.
"We're in the infancy stage right now," said Rev. Propster. "We're working with the Advocates and other agencies for referrals, both in and out of the program. For cases we cannot help with, we want to be able to refer them out for help. We want everything to be beyond reproach."
"We want the New Life Center to be a safe environment for kids," said Reeves. "A place with supervision they want to come to, to learn and have fun."
Reeves is no stranger to the situation of a life on the wrong path. You could say the odds were against him from the start. He was "born" into the Hell's Angels family - the nephew of Sonny Barger, founder of the Oakland (Calif.) chapter of the Hell's Angels.
"I've been there. I know what it's like. I've gone to prison for burglary. I was sentenced, sent to prison for three years, got out, and tried to kill myself. Then I met a guy who saw a person, me, who could change. And I have. I'm now married and two beautiful children.
"I want people to know they can change and there is hope. I'm here. I'm proof. But you wouldn't have liked me eight years ago. God has given me a whole new life and outlook of which I am very grateful."
Reeves got a big boost for his idea from the building owners on Edmonds Avenue, Trip and Kel Aiken. They have donated the use of the gym for the development of the center. Reeves currently instructs martial arts in the gym.
"We will ask for no money from the kids to come in here. There are no hidden contracts - they will just have people who are here to love them and care for them. And no judging. But of course, there are no weapons allowed. We want them to know God loves them and that we'll do our best to help them.
"We are having 5,000 brochures made up to hand out to local businesses asking for their support. We are asking for their help and the support and help of the community."
"I can't tell these kids no. I wouldn't want to be told no. God has given me a whole new perspective on helping and the idea of these programs came through."
The two programs that Reeves and others will teach are kickboxing and Brazilian jujitsu. Reeves himself is trained in (and trains others in) Western boxing, jeet kune do, Greco Roman wrestling, muaythai kickboxing, cardio kickboxing, aiki jutsu, and eskrima - Filipino stick and knife fighting.
On Nov. 20, Reeves will compete in Pendleton, Ore., for the world title in the lightweight division of WPKO, the World Pancration and Kickboxing Organization. It will be one 15-minute round of a form of Greco Roman fighting. It is a full-body contact sport.
If a youth is interested in advancing in skill, Reeves offers lessons at Straight Blast Gym. There students can hone their skills and learn more intricate techniques of defense and specialized contact fighting for competition.
"Sometimes the hardest thing is to have faith in yourself," said Reeves. "I want to help these kids. And I want parents to come in here, too. It is such a fantastic feeling to see different cultures, Hispanics, Native Americans and others, come in here and wrestle each other, or box. And when it's all over, give each other a hug and say 'good job, man.' It's the greatest feeling."
The 4,500-square-foot facility has a boxing ring, grappling area, 1/2-court basketball area, volleyball, and pool and pingpong tables. Anyone who wants to donate equipment may do so. Nothing will be turned away.
"There's a lot of riffs going on in the city between the different races," said Propster. "We're on the cutting edge of something big here. We want these kids to be a statistic, but a statistic on the right side.
"Cory has started some of the programs and disciplining already. In the ring, it's a sport - but out there, on the street, it's hostility."