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A Message from My Orange Duffel Bag Author Sam Bracken

Abandoned at age 15, Sam Bracken battled homelessness, poverty, and abuse to successfully earn a full-ride football scholarship to the Georgia Institute of Technology. When he left for college, everything he owned fit in an orange duffel bag. Now, in this illustrated memoir and road map to personal transformation, Sam shares his story as well as everything he’s learned about overcoming the odds.

When I was 13-years-old and in eighth grade, a caring teacher discovered that I needed glasses. Up until that point, I’d always been in special education classes. I grew up in Las Vegas in a family that was like a whacked out version of The Brady Bunch on an episode of Cops. I suffered every kind of abuse imaginable and started drinking and doing drugs at age 9. Mobsters and motorcycle gang members were my role models. As an eighth grader I decided I didn’t want to be like my family. I stopped drinking and doing drugs and with encouragement from my teachers and lots of hard work, I went from a C and F student in special education to a straight A student. My mother suffered a mental breakdown when I was 15 and abandoned me. I kept my homelessness secret Continue reading

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