Special to Frost Illustrated
FORT WAYNE—One of the area’s most venerable service agencies recently honored a member of the community for outstanding services to others.
On May 19, at the agency’s Annual Meeting, YWCA Northeast Indiana named Marsha Smiley as the winner of the 2014 Peggy Hobbs Award for outstanding volunteerism.
Smiley is a literacy activist and has volunteered for 10 years with Project Reads. She volunteers for International Women’s Day and Bahai’I Race Unity Day activities. For 11 years, Smiley has worked part-time at the Boys and Girls Club with refugee youths from Burma, Africa, parts of Mexico, and South America. In 1997, she founded Spirit Flight, giving her knowledge and time to create youth workshops that interweave virtues and values with Black History.
Smiley has served on various boards in Fort Wayne and belongs to many civic organizations, including the African African American Historical Museum and The History Center. In 2013, she wrote an article titled “The History of Fort Wayne’s Early Colored Women’s Club”, and most recently presented it at the YWCA Diversity Dialogue series.
She is a graduate of Indiana University- Bloomington, with a degree in history, and an alumni of Central High School. She has also received the United Way of Allen County’s Doing Good Works Award in 1998 and a Literacy Star Award in 2002.
Her nominator, Mary Jo Hardiman, said, “Whether working with children, young women, or seasoned women, [Marsha Smiley] is a cheerleader for women and women’s issues.”
Also at this special Annual Meeting, which celebrated YWCA Northeast Indiana’s 120th Anniversary of service to the community, speaker Nancy Marie Robertson, author of “Christian Sisterhood, Race Relations, and the YWCA, 1906-46,” spoke on the history of the YWCA.
YWCA volunteers and board members were also honored.