By Maria Ott
Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware credits its many accomplishments and successes over the years to its incredibly dedicated and diverse staff. Without these women and men, who often times go above and beyond the title and role they were hired for; the organization could not serve as many kids in as many ways as we do. The numerous accomplishments of Marla Smith both within and outside of her home Club in Greater Milford are great and many.
Marla grew up in Milford and attended Milford Senior High School with a goal of pursuing business and marketing. Heavily involved in high school, Marla enjoyed being an active Student Council Leader as well as a Peer Leader. Speaking to her creative side, she was a member of the Art and Drama Club, even acting in school musicals. Remaining ever diverse, Marla also enjoyed Bible Club, Business Professionals of America, and Distributing Education Clubs of America. Marla loves being able to spend time with family and friends—she loves “cooking Sunday dinner and having the family together.” Marla’s other hobbies include traveling, exploring, writing, and watching movies. Among her accomplishments within the Greater Milford Club, Marla is a Youth of the Year Mentor, to which she has described as “an honor and [it] means a great deal”. She goes on to say that this “opportunity to help develop distinguished youth and aid in their discovery of their own value, is an incredible experience.”
Mentoring, a chord that continues to ring true within Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, is vital in the development of youth. Marla takes great pride and humility in this role—while it “is not always easy, [it is] very rewarding”. She compares the experience to witnessing a flower bloom through the constant feeding of love, support, and wisdom. Her end goal is to ensure that every youth she encounters and mentors is empowered and confident enough to change the world. For these reasons and more, she says that being a Youth of the Year Mentor “has impacted [her] greatly and has been inspirational to the work [she does] inside and outside of the Club.”
Not only does Marla do great work within the Greater Milford Club, she also finds time to reach young women through a movement called “The Queen in You Conference.” This movement was a collaboration between Prophetic Kingdom Ministries, Inc. and K.I.S.H. Homes, Inc. The main goal with this program was to target young women who needed mentors, and instill in them the confidence they need as well as being a guide to them in the right direction to combat everyday negativity present in their lives.
Marla was invited to be a speaker in a conference to empower girls of all races, ethnicity, cultures, and creeds. She cites that her love of working with these women comes from her own experiences growing up and acknowledging the general negativity that any female can come across. She herself had a mentor in her life who completely embraced her and loved her, and Marla seeks to pass that feeling along. The conference she is a part of covers a variety of topics in the form of workshops for a young woman to blossom into a Queen including Skin Care and Makeup, Dining Etiquette, and Self-Esteem building. She relishes in the idea that “young girls have gained so much confidence” and after “prance around, looking in the mirror at themselves saying that they are queens.” Marla’s work with female youth remains inspiring and indispensable. Marla and the other women involved in the annual conference have even had the opportunity to be featured on the Comcast network television show “Congo’s Corner” to talk about the conference and its impact.
On top of all this work, Marla has also added to her work load by being asked to co-author a book within the past year titled “The Princess in You” headed by motivational speaker and CEO of K.I.S.H. Homes, Inc. and magazine along with 9 other women including herself. This book is undoubtedly a direct extension of the Queen in You conference, and again aims to inspire and empower young ladies. The book provides personal stories to be used as learning tools comprised of topics such as Entrepreneurship, Fashion/Style, and Leadership, to name a few. She claims that her experience writing the book “was exciting, but honestly it took discipline and focus.” With that in mind, she recognizes the work she is doing and its impact and says she is ready to work on another book project as the opportunity arises.