As it examines alternatives to incarceration, the League of Women Voters of Mobile welcomes Tim Wills, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, who will explain how after-school programs can keep at-risk youth on a positive path.

“We can measure a community by the investments it makes in its most vulnerable populations,”said Wills, who became the fourth CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs earlier this year. “In
Alabama we spend nearly $15,000 annually per inmate. What does that say about our values?”

Local members of the League of Women Voters have studied the issue of sentencing reform since January, and many members have expressed interest in learning how to help struggling young people stay out of the criminal justice system.

Wills said that after-school and summer youth programs are an important component of the opportunity equation. With extremely limited resources offered to help Alabama juveniles who do come in contact with the justice system, programs like Boys and Girls Clubs offer a crucial chance to make a difference in the life of young people who have not been able to find the right support in their families or neighborhoods.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama offers year-round youth development programs to enhance quality of life for young people based on principles of behavioral guidance, promoting leadership, character, healthy life habits and physical education, while emphasizing the importance of education and cultural growth. Three clubs are located within the City of Mobile, with additional clubs in Theodore, west Mobile and Semmes. The organization also operates the POINTE Academy, a school that serves 3,600 adjudicated youth, and four summer programs.

Wills was born in Ferguson, Missouri, outside of St. Louis, and began serving as a volunteer after reporting on foster kids in Boys & Girls Clubs for WSIU public television and radio stations at Southern Illinois University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. Wills later became a club board member and changed career paths when he realized his passion for youth development. His work with the Boys & Girls Clubs has brought him to clubs in Chicago, the District of Columbia and Harford County, Maryland, where he increased number of youth served by 161 percent, from 2,300 young people to more than 6,000 today.

Join us at the Bel Air Marriott, 3101 Airport Blvd., on Wed., Oct. 19, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.. This event is open to the public, but reservations are required. Please RSVP to Jane Gordon at 402-3321 or lovjan42@comcast.net by Oct. 17. Lunch is $18 or $19 by credit card. The League of Women Voters, a national, nonpartisan, political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.