Curt Williams, Founder & Executive Director
Since 1984, Youth-Reach Inc. has operated full-service residential facilities for troubled boys from the ages of 12 – 22. Originating in Houston, Texas, the program operates a 26-acre facility for juveniles (12-17) in Houston and for older youths (18-21) on our 81-acre campus in Summerdale, Alabama. Recognizing that homeless and troubled young men need more than just encouraging words, a greater need was identified: Something tangible had to be done. These high-risk guys need a structured and safe home, clear boundaries, wise guidance, and an infusion of hope.
Few of the young men who come to Youth-Reach have the resources or financial support to pay for all that they need. They need long-term assistance and the options are few, as most residential programs staffed and structured like Youth-Reach costs thousands of dollars a month. This is why, to this day, Youth-Reach is dedicated to providing excellent care at no charge.
In November of 1984, our Founder and Executive Director, Curt Williams, took the first kid off of the streets and into his home. Then in 1985, Williams formally chartered Youth-Reach and moved the kids into a home in east Houston. Working alongside a dedicated board of directors, Curt worked to have this property licensed to operate as a long-term residential foster care home for troubled or delinquent juvenile boys. Originally from Mobile, Curt has always had a strong desire to see the work that the Lord began in Houston be replicated here in south Alabama.
In late 2002 Officer Billy Berrey of the Gulf Shores, Alabama Police Department was encountering an increasing number of juvenile boys and young men who were in trouble, addicted, and living in dangerous conditions. Though the Gulf Shores area is a resort community, the number of kids in trouble was much higher than the national average. It seemed as though the money and the allure of the beach lifestyle had masked the fact that this community was losing their sons at an alarming rate to suicides, alcohol-related deaths, murders and foolish accidents.
Officer Berrey had long known of an effective program in Houston that was founded by his friend Curt Williams. Billy contacted Curt, asking if there were beds available for kids from Baldwin County. That year, the first boy was transported from south Baldwin County to Houston, Texas where he was admitted into Youth-Reach Houston.
From 2002 until 2011, over one hundred Alabama boys found their way to Houston. In fact, for a six-year period, boys from Mobile and Baldwin Counties occupied 65% of the beds at Youth-Reach Houston.
In 2005 a group of ministers, businessmen, law enforcement officers and city officials traveled to Houston to see the program first hand. What they saw there made an impression on them, and soon it was determined that what was needed was a Youth-Reach program in south Alabama to serve the needs of troubled boys from this area. A group of men came together and secured the 81-acres of land that we operate on today. Soon thereafter, Joe Raley Builders constructed our office building, Christian Life Church of Orange Beach constructed our Stage One home, First Baptist Gulf Shores constructed our Stage Two home, Oyster Bay Baptist in Bon Secour constructed our laundry facility, and Benchmark Homes constructed and donated two staff homes. Countless companies and individuals contributed funds and materials, and volunteers and area craftsmen provided much of the manpower free of charge. (In 2014, Benchmark Homes constructed their third staff home on the Youth-Reach Gulf Coast campus) In December of 2008, Youth-Reach Gulf Coast opened the doors and received the first residents.
Since 1984, Youth-Reach has provided long-term care for over 3,000 young men.