David H. SmithHorizon Education Centers Executive Director, David H. Smith, is being honored by the city of North Olmsted and his Board of Directors on the occasion of his 20th anniversary with our organization for the following reasons:

  • Horizon’s “rapid growth and overall reach, extending its programming to more communities encompassing children of all social and economic backgrounds”
  • The positive impact that his efforts have had in North Olmsted schools, especially the middle schools’ afterschool program devoted to continuing learning
  • His volunteering efforts with the Boy Scouts of America and the service group, the Kiwanis, plus his military service

The crux of the proclamation reads as follows: “NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kevin Kennedy, do hereby proclaim January 14, 2015 as David Smith Day throughout North Olmsted, Ohio and encourage all of our citizens to use David as an example and give back to the community and improve the lives of the citizens of North Olmsted.”

History of Horizon – and David’s role

In 1978, the first Horizon center opened under the direction of Mary Smith and its board of directors, housed in the Olmsted Unitarian Church in North Olmsted. David helped by folding and delivering approximately 6,000 flyers to the schools and, without funds to pay someone to plow the snow, David and his brother Tim took on that job – and it was one LONG driveway.

David developed a love of the center, early on, often saying that once Mary retired, he would like to take her place. He attended Cleveland State University to get his education, choosing not to go away to school so he could continue to also work at the center. To gain outside experience, he worked at another nonprofit for a couple of years before bringing his expertise back to Horizon to head up the fundraising division.

And, when Mary retired, David fulfilled on his often-repeated promise and applied for the job of executive director – which he was awarded, twenty years ago.

Horizon, Mary Smith says, has given thousands of children opportunities for a head start in preschool and provides them with alternatives to empty homes or street corners. “The boys and girls get help with homework,” she continues, plus “physical exercise, arts and field trips. There is also a fun summer camp offered along with hot meals. David and his board, along with many community people, make this a great place for children. They say it takes a village to raise children. However, it also takes a dedicated leader, one who has worked endlessly for 20 years. Congratulations, David Smith, and thank you.”

More about David

David became Horizon’s executive director in 1995. Since then, he has taken the organization from two centers to a 13-site nonprofit organization, providing care and education programs for children ages 18 months through middle school in the Cleveland area. He has successfully built collaborations and partnerships with other nonprofits, schools and government agencies, which include the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Head Start, TAN-F and the Child Care Development Block Grant program.

In addition, he served as an officer for 22 years in the Ohio Army National Guard, in which he was awarded a Bronze Star for combat service in Iraq. He sits on two state-level policy councils and is president of the Ohio Association of Child Care Providers. David is an Eagle Scout and remains active in scouting with his three sons, and he holds a BA in History and Master of Public Administration from Cleveland State University.

If you’re ready for your child to benefit from a quality affordable child care program that offers educational and enrichment opportunities, contact the Horizon Education Center in your neighborhood.

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