IRVING, Texas – Former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith led a tour of the renovations at the Salvation Army’s North Texas Youth Education Town construction site on Thursday, featuring an added 8,000 square feet of space to create the center for underserved youth in Arlington.
Smith, the chairman of the North Texas Youth Education Town, helped knock down a wall to launch the opening stage of renovations in September 2012. One year later, the legacy project of Super Bowl XLV will be set to open its doors.
“This is something where the rubber meets the road,” Smith said. “What we’re doing right now is transforming this Salvation Army and this Youth Education Town into something that we believe to be very spectacular and something that will be a model for many other cities around the country.”
The Youth Education Town, funded mostly by grants from the NFL and the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Arlington Charities, will feature a variety of programs dedicated to education, health and the arts, including a dance studio, art room, computer lab, music room, gymnasium and Dallas Cowboys Fitness Zone.
At each stop, a future participant of the Youth Education Town shared his or her anticipation in the activities that will be offered in that room in the future.
“It’s about these kids,” Smith said. “It’s about the families this center’s going to support. It’s about the community that this center’s going to support. It’s not about me. I just happen to be a guy you can recognize, but there are so many folks you don’t recognize that will benefit from this project, and there are so many people behind the scenes that are making this project possible.”
Though much work is yet to be done to finish the center’s completion, it’s come a long way since the first wall was torn down just six months ago.
“I’m looking forward to making this the most successful Youth Education Town in the country,” said Arlington mayor Robert Cluck.