Meet the Smiths
The Smith family lives on a quiet street in North Andrews Gardens in Oakland Park. You may have passed by them and their two beautiful children in Publix or bumped into them at one of Oakland Park’s events. They are quiet and unassuming, you probably would not know if you did bump into them. And you probably wouldn’t know that behind their quiet exterior is a couple with huge hearts that has overcome adversity and is giving back to the community in a very big way.
Adversity Builds Character
Grecia grew up in the inner city of Miami, in a single parent family of four children. When I sat down to talk to her she related how she had a really hard time growing up. “Lights were out like every month, some days we would go without food…I saw my Mom struggle all the time“.
The hardship she faced when young made her determined to succeed. Her husband Chaz faced his own set of challenges growing up in San Francisco but that adversity is what helped form their character and solidify their drive to help their community.
Before moving to Oakland Park both Grecia and Chaz served our country. They were both on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 5 years. They spent 4 years in Yokosuka, Japan and both their daughter, Lyric and son Chaziya Smith were there. After separating from the military in 2016, they moved back to the U.S. and settled in Oakland Park in 2017. Since then have been actively giving back to the community in many different ways.
Chaz is a volunteer coach for the Pompano Eagles 10U football team (his passion!) and is currently in the police academy to become a police officer. Grecia works full-time for the City of Tamarac and volunteers with the League of Women Voters of Broward County, is an active Guardian Ad Litem, Director of the Women Veterans Alliance of Broward County, and volunteer with The Mission Continues, and other charitable organizations.
The backpack and school supplies giveaway they are sponsoring on Saturday August 3rd is their first in Oakland Park, but it is not their first backpack giveaway :
“Chaz and I did our first backpack giveaway in 2013 while serving overseas. We donated 300 backpacks to an after school program in Stockton, CA which my mother-in-law directed at the time. Chaz and I are always thinking of ways to give back and we thought, well why not start out by doing this in our own community and seeing where it takes us. It’s our first backpack giveaway since being back stateside and we couldn’t think of a better time or place to start. We take education very seriously and understand the demands on parents, so we thought this is a good start for many families”.
This first backpack giveaway the Smith Family is sponsoring in Oakland Park is just the beginning of their efforts to help our community. When asked what more they plan to do for the community Grecia said they have been tossing around ideas to do something around the holidays such as give kids free haircuts.
According to Grecia it is because families need help all year long, not just once. So keep your eyes out for the Smith family – Oakland Park will definitely be seeing more of them.
In that spirit I leave you with these final words of wisdom that Grecia and Chaz like to live by :
“Life is not a sprint it is a marathon, just take it one day at a time, and you don’t have to be rich to do these things, just do it!”.
Volunteer To Help the Smith Family !
The Smith Family would also like to thank the Teen Alliance Project , Coby King, Oakland Park Resident and LivingInOaklandPark.com for providing food and water for the event and an anonymous donor at Walmart that paid for donations.
If you would like to help the Smith family in their future efforts contact Grecia Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 954-300-3701.
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About the Author
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 31 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com , Désirée publishes, three other blogs and has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism and to helping others with their real estate endeavors through education. Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.