Our Story

Bridging the Gap Learning Center, Inc. (BTG) is a 501c3 organization with a mission to educate, inspire and equip underserved youth and adults with the necessary tools and resources to develop and maintain successful futures and strong, productive communities. This is accomplished through a full range of educational, developmental and training programs and services which include:

Bridging the Gap Learning Center, Inc. (BTG) was founded in 1992 by Robert A. Byrd, Jr., a former basketball player for Marquette University’s 1977 NCAA Championship Team. At Marquette, Robert was fortunate to be a part of the impeccable tradition and last recruit of legendary Coach Al McGuire. Under succeeding coach, Hank Raymonds, Robert was taught and witnessed firsthand how athletics could be used as a means to achieve success beyond the athletic arena. A lesson that he not only grasped hold of, but one that thrust him forward to embark on a mission to lay the foundation for at-risk youth and underserved communities to have access to the resources necessary to compete in the global economy.

Therefore in 1992, BTG started with a partnership alongside the Wisconsin Amateur Sports Corporation to facilitate the participation of over 2,400 inner-city youth in the Badger State Games, an Olympic-style sports festival event that raises contributions for college bound participants.

And in 1994, participated in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. Although small, BTG created a successful, self-supporting choice school that set a great academic foundation for the students that passed through its doors.

In 1997, BTG purchased the current facility in the Near West neighborhood, on the corner of 17th and State Street. The building required renovations, and Robert labored diligently to secure funds to improve the appearance and functionality of the facility.

A couple of years later in 2000, BTG acquired a vacant city lot and created the first of its kind country golf training facility for youth and adults. The facility features a small clubhouse with state-of-art putting green, hitting mats, turf, and netting. Shortly thereafter, BTG partnered with the WI PGA Junior Foundation: The First Tee of Milwaukee County to facilitate the current instructional curriculum for youth and adults. The facility not only introduces inner-city youth to the game of golf, but also provides a positive environment for them to learn.

In 2012, Robert officially appointed Marquette alumni, Valerie Wilson Reed as President of the Bridging the Gap Learning Center, Inc, to help catapult the organization to the next level. Today BTG is embarking on a venture to build a state-of-the-art entrepreneurial center and supporting structures on the 9,800+ square feet parcel of land they currently own. The center will offer a full range of educational, developmental and training programs and services.

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