Youth Reach Baldwin County

By John Mullen

December 3, 2018 - Orange Beach, AL - (OBA®) - Youth-Reach’s two campuses in Baldwin County and Houston have successfully turned the lives of thousands of troubled young men around since it started in 1984.

“The turnaround is probably double the national average,” volunteer and contributor John McInnis said. “It’s just an extremely successful program. They turn boys around that are on the wrong track either in criminal trouble or have substance abuse problems or had abuse at home.”

The Baldwin County operation has been turning lives around since 2008, closed temporarily from January of 2012 to May of 2013 and has been operating since. About 200 young men have been through the program.

John McInnisMcInnis said but faces constant funding struggles. He is the majority owner of the Flora-Bama properties, Coastal in Gulf Shores and has ownership in Cactus Cantina restaurants.

“It takes about $350,000 a year to fund the program,” McInnis said. “Like most charities the staff at Youth-Reach spends half their time looking for money to pay the bills and the other half of the time working on the boys.”

He and several members of a Founder’s Circle for the campus hope a recent new effort and the planning of a fundraising gala can turn that around and give families who live with the boys more time to do that primary job.

“Our goal as investors in the program has been to get the staff working 100 percent of the time on the boys and figure out a way to where they don’t have to worry about money,” McInnis said. “Gene Brett came up with the idea of the Founder’s Circle where we would get 250 individuals or families who would commit $100 a month and it would fully fund the program.”

At this year’s Founder’s Circle dinner it was announced there are 81 people signed up to commit $100 a month to the program.

“We had the boys speak and some graduates of the program come with their wives and their children and it was a wonderful evening,” McInnis said.

He and wife, Shelly, are also planning to host the gala, again at their Orange Beach home. And, the group is looking to add to the Founder’s Circle but will take any donations of time, money or help on the campus.