An Interview with Reggie Dabbs


Photo by Olivia Klassen

Moved by his speech, Audra Love goes to speak with Reggie on the impact he's had on her. "My friend is adopted and I felt like he would understand how they felt. I asked how to help them rise from that," Love said.

On Monday, December 2, a man walked through the doors of ADM to take the student body out of class to teach it the basic values of life and to crack some jokes. This man was Reggie Dabbs, and while most of the student body expected him to be an ordinary man, he was anything but. His loud and open personality combined with an impressive saxophone skill made for a comedic inspirational speech, but what brought him here to Adel? What does he do?  After his speech, I got to sit down and talk to him about what he does and how he got here, to a small town in the middle of Iowa from Florida:

Q: What brought you here?

A: I have really good friends that work  in your community and in West Des Moines, and they knew I did schools. They wanted to reach the community with hope (just hope) so they brought me in. But they remain nameless because they don’t want it associated to who they are, but just that they care.

Q: What is your favorite part about talking to schools and people?

A: I like hearing people laugh. I understand now that I’m older it’s a gift. I used to think “ah it’s no big deal, you can make people laugh” but now that I’m older, I realize how much of a gift it is. I also like when people get it. When you can stand up in front of 9-12 grade and say “I just came because I love you” and nobody laughs and instead you hear people say “I love you, too” you know that what you’re doing matters.

Q: Being from Florida, how do you feel your message relates to teens here?

A: Some people think regions are different, but young people are young people. They grow up with hurt and pain and sorrow and happy and sad, and we just kinda navigate through all those in a 45 minute program so that even if you’re sad you can go “ya know, I’m gonna be alright, imma get through this” and you never know when someone needs that, or when someone’s at a point of giving up, so we just do what we do in front of the people that we see knowing that while we’re there, we’re going to help somebody there, and that’s important.

Q: Who do you credit to?

A: My group of people, my parents. All these NFL and people say, “aw, Reggie’s great, no wonder his parents raised him” but I wasn’t this when they raised me. I was just a broken kid. I was just another number. I was supposed to die in a gang at 16 or end up murdering someone or end up in prison for stealing, but because they took me in–they’re both passed away–I still don’t know why they did this, I’m just glad they did.

Reggie Dabbs is a motivational speaker who speaks to NFL players, celebrities, and high school students alike. He is a man who speaks every day to help the one person in the crowd who needs to know they are loved, and he lives with the principle that, “one person can make a difference, but you just have to be that person.” He is in the Greater Des Moines area for the rest of this week, spreading his wisdom on the knowledge of life and smooth jams on the saxophone.

To stay connected to Reggie Dabbs, you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @dabbsreggie, and on Facebook @reggiedabbsonline.