Curt Williams, Founder & Executive Director
It all started with Scott Raley and a set of blueprints.
Very early in the life of Youth-Reach Gulf Coast, I committed to split my time between the original Houston campus and Baldwin County to begin the arduous process of building relationships and developing the necessary infrastructure to support a new ministry. This commitment was not taken lightly, and before I made such a decision I spoke with and prayed with my wife, Shelley, who would have to agree to travel with me for two weeks of every month. And yes, we had seven children who she home-schooled, so our merry tribe would be living in two places.
She jumped in without hesitation. For the first year, we did not have a solid place to live, and each time we came we stayed in a different place, but soon the board agreed to rent us what they could find. A board member made available a duplex unit in a development on Ft. Morgan Road and we were happy to have a reliable landing spot each month.
Even though the unit was close quarters for our family of nine, I was quite impressed with the efficient layout of the building. I knew that Scott (who was then and now a board member of Youth-Reach) had built the entire development, so one day when I was in his offices I asked for a set of the blueprints. Scott quickly had someone make me a copy, and for over ten years I carried those prints around with me.
Fast forward to the present day….
There was a growing concern that young men were successfully completing the ministry program, but were then returning to the same neighborhood, the same environment, or the same dysfunctional families. Too often, we were hearing from them that they were slipping back into old habits and old addictions. It was hard to hear and very frustrating.
I was in Houston when David called me. He began to share with me his vision of a transitional living home that we could build on our Summerdale campus where young men who had completed our ministry training could move to. They could then get a job, buy a car, begin to pay rent, save some money, and yet remain in community with us. They would have the opportunity to walk in a measure of freedom while still having the strength of all the relationships of the family they had come into for the past year.
As David described this building, I got a chill and realized that I had the actual plans for the building he was describing. I asked David if he was in the office at Youth-Reach Gulf Coast. He was, and I asked him to step down to my office and he did so. I directed him to the set of blueprints that I had been carrying around for ten years. As David unrolled the blueprints, we had ourselves a God-moment as the vision the Lord had given to him was visualized right there in his hands and on paper.
Fast forward a few months, and Melanie Martin felt the tragedy of losing both her husband Mike and her son Mikell in a short season. She wanted to provide a memorial gift to honor these two loved ones, so Melanie made a generous gift towards what is today the Mike Martin & Mikell Frechette Transitional Living Home. at Youth-Reach Gulf Coast. We sat down with those dog-eared blueprints and Melanie made a few very wise adjustments to the plans. Soon after, Scott and his team began the process of pulling permits and his tradesmen stepped up to offer in-kind materials and labor.
Today, the building is complete! It is beautiful, energy efficient, durable, spacious and will serve to provide generations of young men the opportunity to transition out of Youth-Reach in a safer and healthier manner. Few programs or ministries offer such an opportunity, but we are doing this to protect these young men and to protect the financial investment that you are making in them.
All of us here at Youth-Reach love a good redemption story, and we love how the Lord has brought together so many people and so many circumstances to make this new opportunity a reality for years to come. We want to communicate our gratitude to Melanie Martin, Scott Raley, Bill Patterson, Richard Tanner, John Roberts and many more for stepping in to bless Youth-Reach with this new tool. We are thankful for each of you that give and support this work. Thank you!