The St. Louis Division has selected Bill Wilkerson to receive the Director’s Community Leadership Award.
Mr. Wilkerson has worked closely with Martin Mathews, a 2005 recipient of the Director's Leadership Award, and the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club (MDBGC) on an initiative to keep St. Louis-area youth in school and out of gangs and drugs. The initiative, "Reach Out St. Louis," is a comprehensive program created to stem the dropout rate at four St. Louis high schools.
As the executive director of "Reach Out St. Louis," Mr. Wilkerson has teamed with a diverse group of area resources to address the problem. Other supporters of the program include the FBI, St. Louis Metropolitan Police and Fire Departments, St. Louis Rams, Federal Judge E. Richard Webber, local media, and state and federal elected officials. The initiative complements the MDBGC mission to nurture area youth with education as a main principle. The MDBGC meets the needs of St. Louis children by instilling in them the "Three R's: Respect, Restraint and Responsibility."
Mr. Wilkerson has developed a strategy that involves tracking and analyzing basic data that are early warning signs of dropping out. Working with the principals of the four high schools, Mr. Wilkerson solicited resources and focused them on the schools in a way to ensure that each was being properly represented. Mr. Wilkerson connected each high school with a local point of contact who was affiliated with a local university, a church, a corporation, or the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Through his dedication and hard work, he was able to implement the initiative in less than a year.
A veteran radio broadcaster in the St. Louis area working for KMOX for more than 27 years and KTRS, Mr. Wilkerson served as the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals football team and the University of Missouri. In May 2004, he started his own business and became president of MPS Worldwide, a company that procures and distributes medical equipment, supplies, and services.
Mr. Wilkerson is originally from Memphis, Tennessee. He earned a degree in advertising from Southern Illinois University School of Journalism.