A Christian Liberal Arts University, Est. 1846

Marion Playground to Honor the Memory of Betsy Smith

  • By: Meredith Sell
  • Published: Aug 24, 2015 3:30PM
Betsy Smith

The Taylor University community will build a playground at the Boys and Girls Club of Marion on Monday, August 31, to honor the life and memory of Betsy Smith, a late Taylor student whose involvement in one of the school’s local outreach ministries so impacted her life that she planned to move to Marion after she graduated.

The Elizabeth “Betsy” Smith Playground will be constructed at the club’s facility on 3402 S. Meridian Street in Marion through a community building effort utilizing dozens of Taylor University students, faculty and staff, as well as local volunteers. The finished playground will provide the club with an outdoor venue and also provide Taylor’s ReaLife students with an additional place to meet during their Tuesday outreach.

Smith was a co-director of ReaLife, a student-led ministry that engages elementary children from inner city Marion through Bible stories and small group time. She was one of five members of the Taylor University community who died in a crash on I-69 on April 26, 2006. According to her family and friends, Betsy had planned to live in Marion following her graduation from Taylor to continue the relationships formed during her ReaLife experience.

“She had pretty much found her passion,” said Jeanie Smith, Betsy’s mother. “ReaLife allows students who are at Taylor to put some feet on their ideals … Betsy would be so thrilled that something tangible is being done to bless the kids of that community.”

According to current ReaLife co-directors Alexa Ross and Landon Stuart, the playground is being built in part from the proceeds of The Betsy Run, a 5K running and walking event held each fall since 2006.

The 10th and final Betsy Smith 5K will be held September 26, starting at St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur, Ill. To find out more visit thebetsyrun.com.

Ross and Stuart said the playground building project will begin at 9:00 a.m.