Eddie Spencer admits to the bad choices he made as a teenager and young adult. Those choices are the introduction to his story, but it's the way he changed his life that gives him a reason to speak to children.
"I want to be real. I want to allow them to see my life, my struggles, but at the same time see the success part," said Spencer.
Spencer says that, because of the choices he made, he had been shot four times by the time he was 16 years old. At the age of 17, he was sentenced to a mandatory 10 years for armed robbery and attempted murder. But it was during that time in prison that his life was turned around and he found inspiration.
"The Lord said, 'I want you to take the mess that you made out of your life and your past and begin to use it to prevent other kids from making the same mistakes,’" Spencer told the assembly.
And that's what he did. Since 1984, Spencer, a Mississippi native, has been sharing his message to children and teenagers across the South.
"It's not what type of mess that you've made out of your life, but it's what you do with it. And let them know there is hope," he said.
Spencer said he turned his life around. Now he's using his testimony to reach others before it's too late.
"My goal is, if one listens it was worth all the effort," said Spencer.