In 1991, with a passion for addressing injustices, her love for education, community and families, Sarah M. Yard founded the Family Life Center of Smithfield.
The Center, located on Lee Street and next to Smith Collins Park, was a program that grew out of the work of the National Council of Churches’ Black Families Ministry Project designed to enhance the lives of individuals, families and their communities.
Mrs. Yard worked tirelessly at the non-profit facility providing after school and summer youth programs, workplace training, educational opportunities, a meeting place, place of fellowship, heritage festivals, celebrations, and even a weekly food distribution center.
Over the last 2 years, the Town of Smithfield acquired the Family Life Center Building. Town staff and volunteers cleaned the building, removed debris, repaired, painted and outfitted the building for use as a recreational center for local youth.
Tuesday night, the Smithfield Town Council unanimously adopted a request by Town Manager Michael Scott to dedicate the building in honor of Mrs. Yard and also rename the facility the Sarah Yard Community Center.
Mrs. Yard and her relatives were on hand to receive a plaque and a round of applause from the council and citizens attending the meeting.
A formal ribbon cutting will be held this Sunday, Nov. 19th at 3:00pm at the Center located at 909 E. Lee Street in Smithfield. The public is invited to attend.