Every year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America bestow the Robert M. Sykes Award for Professional Excellence to one local organization each year, and this year, Tuscaloosa's club is in the spotlight.

Kim Turner, the CEO of the West Alabama club, was named the 2021 winner at the Southeast Administrative Conference in Atlanta. The honor remembers the late Bob Sykes, a former Regional Director of the program who got his start in Boys & Girls Clubs in 1956.

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Turner's 18-year stint with the Boys & Girls Club of West Alabama has yielded "historic growth" for the program. Most notably, her work has created a culture of excitement and eagerness for children to come to the Clubs and participate in its activities.

“Boys & Girls Clubs create opportunities for lifelong success for so many youth in our community. It is my honor and privilege to lead a dedicated staff that works day in and day out to make a difference in the lives of children and teens right here in West Alabama. I can’t imagine spending my life doing anything else,” Turner said.

According to a press release, Turner is the face of the Southeast region for the Board of the Professional Association and led the Alabama Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs as its director for 2020 and 2021. She says above all this, her first passion is "being a wife and a mother."

The West Alabama chapter was created in 1961 under its first name, the Tuscaloosa County Boys' Club. Girls were later included nationwide in 1990 and 12 years later, West Alabama's nine counties were included under the one organization: Boys & Girls Club of West Alabama.

The Boys & Girls Club of West Alabama is not done making its mark on the area, either: two new facilities are set to open in Tuscaloosa and Greensboro, and Hale County Middle School, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School and Southview Elementary School will include sites at their campuses soon. More than 3,000 children will benefit from these initiatives through the club's "onsite and outreach programs."

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