About a year ago, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap decided that he needed to do something about bullying. Hearing about a child in Cincinnati who took his life after being bullied by his peers at school, Dunlap wanted to raise awareness and promote kindness on a national scale.
When Dunlap first started playing in the NFL, he created a foundation to focus on literacy. In his first years of high school, Dunlap didn’t prioritize education but in order reach his aspirations in higher education, and as an elite athlete, he had to prioritize learning and catch up. It became his mission to work with kids to promote literacy and to encourage them to make academic performance as important a priority as athletics or other interests.
It was seven years into his work with children that he decided to bring an anti-bullying message into his platform, realizing that kids can’t excel if they feel isolated and are not safe. “Bullying has gotten worse,” said Dunlap. “To hear that [a child] felt that alone or that impacted by bullying the he needed to take his own life was something that really baffled me because for me, as a kid, all I thought about was being a kid.”
Read the rest of Helga Luest’s blog on the Huffington Post and watch Luest’s video interview with Dunlap.