Betty Smith | In my own words

Having a dream was not enough for me. I’m living it. Since marrying the Rev. Mark Smith and moving to Canton in 1998, I have been on a mission to help, encourage and challenge struggling families to better themselves and the lives of their children through multiple programs.

Having a dream was not enough for me. I’m living it. Since marrying the Rev. Mark Smith and moving to Canton in 1998, I have been on a mission to help, encourage and challenge struggling families to better themselves and the lives of their children through multiple programs.

I was born and raised in Logansport, Ind. But as a Chicagoan at heart, having lived there for more than 40 years and mentored by Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, I’m not a woman who has asked for a handout to make the lives of others better. I have gone out, and with the help of so many people and donors, I have done it! While in Chicago, I founded Forever Free, a recovery home for women and women with children recovering from drugs and alcohol. It is still in existence.

At 55, I took an early retirement, but soon thereafter God let me know that my work was not finished.

Through perseverance, in 1999 I developed and founded Multi-Development Services of Stark County (MDS). My staff and I have worked diligently to give low-income families the means to empower themselves and become a light in the community instead of part of the blight that plagues the United States.

Government aid for nonprofits is continually shrinking. Multi-Development Services of Stark County has operated since its inception with grants and city, state and federal aid, as well as donations.

At 68, it is my strong faith in God that motivates me to continue feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, working with youth, and helping mothers keep their families together or working with those mothers who have lost custody, to reunite them with their children.

My volunteer work has opened many doors for me to meet wonderful people and share the great programs that Multi-Development Services of Stark County operates.

Canton is a wonderful place to live.

ABOUT BETTY
WHO: Betty M. Smith.
WHAT: Founder/executive director, Multi-Development Services of Stark County.
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts degree in public administration, Northeastern Illinois University, 1978; Master of Science degree in human resource development, National College of Education, 1983; management courses at University of Notre Dame; social work courses, Mundelein and DePaul universities.

COMMUNITY BOARDS/COMMITTEES: Malone College Professional Advisory Committee, Chicago Gospel Fest Committee, Canton Symphony Orchestra board, chairwoman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Fashion Show; graduate of the 19th Leadership Stark County class; Light Up Downtown; WIC Advisory Board; O’Jays’Weekend, Zing in the City, and KIMONA Exhibit entertainment committee; “On Track with Betty Mac” cable television show (Channel 11); member of International Association of Fitness Professionals.

PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: Founder, Gospel Joins Symphony; CD/TV recording studio coordinator; Summit Neighborhood Enrichment Team; SNET II Neighborhood Revitalization Program; Fine Arts Program; founder, Golden Dove Awards; producer, Canton Idol; founder, Downtown NU-Zone Family and Arts Festivals; producer, Gospel Joins Symphony; founder, Multi-Development Services of Stark County nonprofit agency.