After a severe winter storm socked Super Bowl XLV in Arlington in 2011, Monday’s wet weather put a damper on grand plans to dedicate a legacy project that came as part of hosting the big game -- the North Texas Youth Education Town, or YET.
Organizers hoped to reveal a sign outside that read “Gene and Jerry Jones Family North Texas Youth Education Town,” as a special dedication, but the rain forced the festivities inside.
But the band played on, despite the weather, with all of the fanfare of a Dallas Cowboys game.
The Cowboys were well represented inside the new facility with Cowboys cheerleaders and big names in attendance. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones were seated in the facility along with Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, who's the founding YET chairperson.
To win the right to host a Super Bowl, the NFL requires the region's committee to raise $1 million for a Youth Education Town. The Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation donated the money, which was matched by the NFL.
Emmitt Smith told NBC 5 that he’s proud they’ve reached their final goal.
“This YET Center is going to be filled with love, because of the Salvation Army and their motto is doing the most good. When you combine that with opportunity and the need in this community, it's a win-win situation,” said Smith.
But the kids are the big winners, as YET officially opens Monday.
The more than $2 million facility is built practically in the shadow of AT&T Stadium. Now two years after Super Bowl XLV, this will be one of the positive legacies. It’s a youth center for more than 2,000 local at-risk kids and offers afternoon and weekend educational, sports and recreational programs.
The programs are run by the Salvation Army.
Scholarship and memberships are available to local students. For more information go to: http://www.salvationarmyyet.org/.