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Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard and his wife Clarke have partnered with Nashville DCS to renovate the Children Services Safe Room. The room acts as a warm, welcoming holding facility for children who have been abruptly taken out of homes for their own safety or wellbeing. Byard, an MTSU grad and third-round pick by the Titans in 2016, has now spent a significant amount of time in middle Tennessee and wanted to give back.
“This is something that I hope that my children will continue to push forward, always talk about being a servant and always wanting to help the community and helping people that’s in need,” said Byard.
According to the Tennessee Alliance for Kids, Davidson County (Nashville) manages almost 500 foster children in the system. Children are typically brought into a DCS facility after undergoing a traumatic situation before moving into a new foster environment. The safe room is a small but important piece of the process.
“Imagine leaving your house at 3 o’clock in the morning because of a situation and now you’re going into somebody’s office, and you’re not even knowing where you’re going the next day because they have to find temporary placement for you. This is the space that’s in between that time,” said Byard.
The project was a no-brainer for Byard, who said the foster system has touched his own life in the past.
“I’ve had family that’s been in the foster care system and you know the type of effects that it can have, especially on a child with the different traumas and stuff like that,” said Byard. “Anything we can do to try and make them feel a little more comfortable is something we’re trying to accomplish.”
The upgraded facility now enjoys new appliances, furniture, toys, and paint, thanks to the work of Byard and other local sponsors. Annually, The Byard Family Legacy Fund awards two organizations and two individuals their Gift of Grace Grant.
“God has extended so much grace to me and to my wife and to my family,” said Kevin Byard. “We only feel right to try to do the same.”