Our Early History
In 1989, Kerr and Downs conducted a community household survey for the City of Tallahassee. The study identified substance abuse, crime and teen pregnancy as the top three social problems facing the Leon County community. In addition, in the mid 1980s the Tallahassee Police Department identified a noticeable increase in violent crime by youth. Delinquency complaints rose by 46% from 1985 to 1989.
In response to these findings, six concerned citizens of Leon County assembled in April 1990 to address their concerns about the issues that had been identified by the two studies. This group believed that rather than inventing a program for youth, they would associate with a national youth development organization that already had an established track record of working with at-risk kids. The organization, in existence for 127 years, was the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA)—a nationwide affiliation of local, autonomous Clubs serving over two million youth throughout America.
The original group of six grew to 20 individuals who were concerned about the future of youth in Tallahassee. With the assistance of BGCA, they formed a board of directors. Their focus was to 1) raise money for the first year of operation; 2) obtain by some means the use of an already existing structure or a site upon which to build; and 3) hire an executive director.
Monies were raised for the first year's operation. Alton Evans, who was serving as the executive director in Florence, SC, was employed as the first director. He served until August 2001.