LAURINBURG —Reggie McNair has always had a positive outlook.
The Laurinburg native began using social media a few years ago to share that sunny disposition in what he calls “Life is Good” videos.
Today, he says that Life is Good is more than an attitude — it is a movement.
“It’s just an idea I came up with two years ago,” McNair said. “I started going on the internet and started saying positive, motivational things. It was a catchy phrase and everybody started connecting my name with the Life is Good movement.
McNair recently organized a community day around Life is Good to help at-risk youths in Laurinburg. The event drew hundreds of children and parents to Legion Park.
His goal was to bring fathers together to help raise their children.
“I have one son, he is 10 years old, and so I know how hard it is to raise children here,” he said.
McNair said he also wants the effort to serve as a way to dispel stereotypes of negativity and violence often associoated with low-income or rural communities.
“I try to teach the young kids that are in my community to try to do better and to be better,” McNair said. “Children want attention and when there is no positive role models in the community coming out, they turn to the gangs for attention,” McNair said. “That’s where the violence and the guns come from.”
McNair added that he hopes to attract other men to serve as role models.
“If we had a place for children in Laurinburg to go and congregate with mentors in one place, it would raise their self-esteem,” McNair said. “The children have low self-esteem because they don’t feel like they have any love in their community.”
Laurinburg resident Frank Evans said he became aware of McNair’s movement when he was on Facebook recently and saw one of McNair’s videos.
“I saw him throwing his arms around and said, ‘Is this guy a politician? Is he running for something?” Evans said. “He was wanting a better place for everybody in Laurinburg.”
Evans and James Garby reached out to McNair and within a week or so, they had helped him organize the event at Legion Park that drew an estimated 600 people. Evans and Garby said they thought the event would also be a good chance to discuss citizen concerns. While the children played and ate free hot dogs and snow cones, the adults heard speeches, including one from Mayor Matthew Block.
“Reggie’s movement is different because it was an attempt to bring the community together, nothing to do with where people come from or what religion they are in,” Block said. “With all the events going on in the country, pulling people apart, this was a response to have citizens come together to feel a part of a community, to enjoy fellowship with fellow citizens and also to have the police participate in that. I thought it was very successful.”
Block said he does not believe McNair has a political agenda, although the mayor did get a chance air his views on the proposed city hall and recreational center. Evans and Garby also say they plan to run for city council next year.
While McNair thinks there needs to be more recreational opportunities for young people, he said he has not taken sides.
“I’m a citizen here in the community and I don’t want to offend or upset either side,” McNair said. “I feel that issue will take care of itself. I’m focusing on the future of the community and that starts with the children.
McNair, who works at the KFC in Laurinburg, said Life is Good will remain above the political fray.
“I’m not worried about the movement being politicized.”
He said the focus now will be to bring more people into the movement along with donors of water and hot dogs to keep the community events free.
“If I can be a bridge to the citizens of the city with the politicians and be a voice for the politicians to speak to the citizens, I look as that as a win-win for both sides,” McNair said. “The movement is to bring all people together.”
To reach McNair to volunteer, call 910-280-5171.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-506-3169.