Reggie Dabbs shares motivational story with West Iron County students

Reggie Dabbs is a talented saxophone player. He not only dazzled students with his music, but also with his message of love and hope.
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 6:36 PM EDT
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IRON RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) - West Iron County students heard an inspirational message on Thursday. It came from a special guest speaker.

Reggie Dabbs is a talented saxophone player. He not only dazzled students with his music, but also with his message of love and hope.

“I grew up in foster care my entire life. I didn’t have a last name until I was 12-years-old. The teacher who raised me, my real mom gave me away to her. She taught me everything that I know,” Dabbs said.

Dabbs found out he was in foster care when he was six-years-old. Now, 52 years later, he says it still is devastating.

“My mom literally kept my brother, and my two sisters, but she said I was a mistake and gave me away,” Dabbs said.

The Texas native says he is a product of the public school system in the U.S.

“My foster care mom was an English teacher, my foster care dad was the school janitor and that is why I am here,” Dabbs explained.

Dabbs personally thanked the teachers at West Iron County for showing up for their students. It was an emotional assembly, but one that Dabbs hopes provides healing.

“Maybe in my story with young people, no matter what they are going through, they can get past that to become great,” Dabbs said.

Dabbs has been a motivational speaker for 37 years. He says that every part of the public school system plays a role in raising children. His message is centered around “hope.”

“We do it in three things in the program. First, we let kids know somebody loves you. The second thing we say is that you have value and have purpose,” Dabbs continued. “The third thing we say is you can make it through anything, just don’t give up.”

Dabbs said he can sum up his message in one sentence.

“If you are [reading] this today, just keep breathing,” Dabbs said.

Through love, songs and compassion, Dabbs hopes to make the world a better place.

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