FBI Chicago
Special Agent Siobhan Johnson
(312) 829-1199
April 26, 2023

FBI-Chicago Announces Recipient of Director’s Community Leadership Award

CHICAGO—Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler Jr., special agent-in-charge of the Chicago Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today that the community organization Books Over Balls has been named the 2022 recipient of the division’s Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA).

Books Over Balls, also known as “Team B.O.B.,” is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created for the purpose of offering sports-based alternatives to violence, drugs, and crime. The organization’s mission is to positively impact the lives of underserved youth—ages 11 to 24—by bringing them off the streets and onto the basketball court. Books Over Balls estimates that its programming has positively impacted over 8000 residents in Chicago and surrounding communities.

In addition to traditional sports-related youth services such as basketball tournaments, sports camps, and clinics, Books Over Balls offers education-based services such as life coaching, career training, internships, and STEAM camps. Youth who utilize the organization’s services also have access to both academic and sports scholarships. “Books Over Balls has taken the initiative to provide quality programming for youth in need,” said SAC Wheeler. “It is always commendable to see community members putting their time and talents to use for such a worthy cause.”

Executive Director Darren Powell accepted the award on behalf of Books Over Balls at a private ceremony at FBI Chicago today. Powell will travel to Washington, D.C., on May 5th to receive his award from FBI Director Christopher Wray at a ceremony highlighting one recipient from each of the FBI’s 56 field offices. This year’s D.C. ceremony is the first national ceremony to occur since before the Coronavirus epidemic.

Established in 1990, the DCLA honors individuals and organizations for their efforts in preventing federal crimes and enhancing law enforcement efforts in their communities. This award is given annually on behalf of FBI Director Wray.

To learn more about Books Over Balls (with photographs): https://www.booksoverballs.org/

For information on previous years’ recipients: https://www.fbi.gov/about/community-outreach/dcla

For additional information about the DCLA: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/directors-community-leadership-awards-091620