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Motivational speaker shares his story


According to Cable
News Network (CNN),
Reggie Dabbs in the
nation’s number-one
motivational speaker for
high school students. On
Thursday, he brought
his message of hope and
encouragement to students
at Valley High School, the
final stop on a week-long
tour across Alabama.
Reggie was born in
Tennessee to an unwed
teenager who gave him
away to a former school
teacher by the name of
Mrs. Dabbs. She and her
husband cared for Reggie
as foster parents until he
was in the fourth grade, at
which time they officially
adopted him and gave him
the Dabbs name.
“My parents instilled in
me strong moral values,
for which I am genuinely
grateful” said Dabbs.
“They also ingrained in
me the fact that in every
situation I faced, I had a
choice. And what I did
with those choices was
entirely up to me.”
In sixth grade, Reggie
began playing the saxophone
and hated it. At the
insistence of his parents he
continued to practice and
play. Not until his freshman
year at the University
of Tennessee did he actually
enjoy the instrument,
and today, he plays with
fervor and expertise.
After introducing
himself to students, Reggie
launched into a full
barrage of interaction with
them that included humor
and his incredible musical
talent. Ramnation had the
gymnasium rocking with
a sign-along to hit songs
by Bruno Mars and other
popular recording artists.
The entertainment alone
would have made for an
outstanding assembly
program, but Reggie had
another purpose for his
“I’m here today
because someone in this

building is hurting, even
to the point that they’ve
considered taking their
own life,” Dabbs began.
“I know what that feels
like because I’ve been
there myself. Suicide was
something I contemplated
for several years. But what
I kept coming back to was
the caring compassion
and unconditional love of
my parents, and how they
would be affected.”
“The hardest thing for
me to overcome was the
thought that I was unwanted,
given away by my
birth mother, and not even
having a last name until I
was in the fourth grade,”
Dabbs continued. “I eventually
came to the realization
that you can never
change your past, but you
can certainly change your
After graduating
college, Reggie began
sharing his story through
public speaking engagements.
It was during one
of those occasions when
someone asked if he
would be interested in addressing
a high school assembly.
That was in 1987,
and since then, Reggie has
traveled to high schools
across the nation.
“My family and I have
committed our lives to
make a positive difference
in the lives of young
people,” said Dabbs.
“Today’s generation is
facing unparalleled hurts,
pressures and choices. If
we can heal those hurts,

help in times of pressure,
and equip students in their
choices, we will have better
students and a positive
school atmosphere.”
Today, Reggie Dabbs
lives with his wife
Michele and their son
Dominic in Fort Myers,