BALTIMORE (WJZ ) — Let’s be real, when it comes to the national spotlight, Baltimore doesn’t always have the best reputation. More often than not, tough times can dominate the headlines, whether it’s the violence, surge in shootings.

“It’s nonsense. It needs to stop,” one resident said.

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Throw in the pandemic, and there’s no denying it’s been hard over the past few years.

But what you don’t always see or maybe even hear about, that’s giving Baltimoreans hope.

“Sometimes, your words or your presence means a lot more than you could ever realize,” said retired Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith.

There are plenty of unsung heroes all across the city doing just that, making their presence felt, including two-time Super Bowl champion Smith.

When asked about his devotion to helping children, Smith said, “I was one of those kids. The reality is when I’m talking to a kid, I see myself. When I talk to some of these mothers, I see my mother. Their family structure and challenges that may exist.”

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Those making a difference in Baltimore extend well beyond Smith though, including individuals Number 82 wants to shed light on with a new series on WJZ called “Community MVP.” Over the next few months, Smith will surprise those worthy of the honor.

“The people who make this city go don’t get enough credit. It’s not the politicians. It’s the people in grassroots levels. It’s the families, it’s the neighborhood aunt that deserve more attention. I believe it’s my responsibility, our responsibility, to help elevate and acknowledge them,” he said.

That responsibility now falls on all of us to nominate those changing lives. So think hard about who you feels deserves it. Follow your heart.

It’s an opportunity to highlight the love, sweat and tears some constantly pour into this city, reminding us that kindness will always win.

“I have a lot of people in mind, and I know people at home have a lot of people on their mind, that deserve to be recognized for their impact on them as individuals, or their neighborhood and community,” Smith said.

Nominate a Community MVP here. 

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Rick Ritter