Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver Davone Bess wants South Florida students to change their minds about life’s challenges.
He opened up about bad decisions he made as a teenager, including one where he said he gave some friends a ride and then spent time behind bars when stolen goods were found in the car.
Still he says, situations like those, you must draw on the positive.
“If it wasn’t for me going through… tough times,” he told a crowd at Fort Lauderdale High School, “I wouldn’t be the man, person I am today.
Bess told ninth through 12th graders it’s okay to say "no" to your friends when they have bad ideas.
“I learned from that mistake,” he said. “And that’s what it’s all about.”
Twenty students are part of the Bess Friends group, a mentoring program where high school students spend time with younger kids.
Rhyan Smith, 18, is a member.
Hearing Bess talk made him light up. “It was awesome,” he said, seeing Bess as “someone I could look up to.”