Josh Shipp was once a troubled teenager. Today he’s known as the “Teen Whisperer.” When he talks, teens listen. So do adults. And on Thursday, March 9, 2017 he’ll address Drug Free Collier’s 9th Annual Community Awareness Luncheon.

Shipp has transformed his life and helps others to do the same. He openly talks about being abandoned at birth, living in foster homes and dealing with addiction, abuse and suicidal feelings. His challenges became the foundation for his talks, which inspire and motivate.

He is considered a leading expert on teen behavior. He has appeared on MTV, CNN, FOX, Good Morning America, 20/20 and the New York Times. And he’s a regular at college campuses. Shipp has a best-selling book called “The Teen’s Guide to World Domination.” As if that’s not enough, he has a television series about working with at-risk teens.

Shipp was also named to Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list and as CNN’s Young Person Who Rocks. His story has touched the lives of over 2 million teens worldwide. Shipp has a casual style, putting the audience at ease. Shipp says his life was changed when an adult reached out to him. “All we need is one person who sees the best in us,” he says.

He believes “every kid is ONE caring adult away from being a success story.” That will be the focus of his March 9 talk, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, 2600 Tiburon Drive in Naples.

He trains speakers, has an online mentoring program (A Year of Awesomeness) and publishes a free newsletter offering strategies for parents, youth workers and professionals.

A self-described nerd, Shipp connects with his audience using humor and honesty. “I don’t want to give you some sort of cheesy, unrealistic motivational speech,” he says in his promotional video. He doesn’t. Instead, he calls youth to action: “When something bad happens to us we have options – you can choose to be bitter or you can choose to get better.”

Everyone, he says, face challenges. But we often think everyone else’s life is perfect. It’s not. Shipp’s solution is no-nonsense: “Stop complaining about yours,” he says. “Stop whining about yours. Stop using it as your crutch…it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with it.”

It’s that kind of philosophy he hopes will change the lives of young people.

Also at the luncheon, retired Chief Scott Salley will be the honored guest. He has been serving our community for over 30 years with ongoing efforts to educate the public on the dangers of substance abuse. Chief Salley is a past board member of Drug Free Collier and served as its president for three years.

Tickets can be purchased for the March 9 luncheon and sponsorship opportunities are available. Visit for more information. To reserve seating, e-mail us at or call us at 239.302.6717.

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