NASHVILLE – Titans safety Kevin Byard and his wife Clarke unveiled the renovated facility housing the Davidson County Department of Children's Services' Safe Room on Sunday.
The Safe Room is a dedicated space designed to help reduce the trauma for children who come into custody for child abuse and/or child neglect. Through a full cosmetic renovation this is now a safe space for the youth seeking refuge and gives them some sense of comfort.
"God has extended so much grace to me and my wife and my family," Byard said. "We only feel right to try and do the same. I give 100 percent credit to my wife. … She ended up visiting this facility, and she had a vision, and wanted to be able to help out the community as much as possible. With me personally, I've had family that's been in the foster system, so this is near and dear to me as well."
The Davidson County Foster System is the recipient of the Byard Family Legacy Fund's annual "Gift of Grace" Grant.
"The Byard Family Legacy Fund actually has a grant called the "Grace Grant" and we model that after God's grace," Clarke Byard said. "We leave it open for individuals or for organizations … that are in need of a little grace, a little extra help to push forward with what they are trying to accomplish."
The mission of the Byard Family Legacy Fund is not only to provide a sanctuary for families, but believes everyone deserves a second chance.
Byard, a father of two who is the second oldest of seven children, grew up without a father in his home. Byard has said his family worked hard to make ends meet growing up.
Byard, who played in college at MTSU, and his wife Clarke were on hand with their two children at Sunday's ribbon cutting.
"I want to give my personal thanks to Clarke and Kevin Byard for what they have done for the children in our custody," DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols said. "Kids are taken in at all times, day and night, and during that transition period, it's probably some of the most dramatic hours for them.
"The Byards have provided this home-like environment for them to stay in during those hours, and I can't imagine anything that is more important than the legacy this family is creating."
On Sunday, the Byards were presented a Certificate of Appreciation signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.
Also, the Safe Room was dedicated the Byards, and the plaque will be hung inside the "Byard Family Safety Room."
"We all have a story – I have been through some rough times in my life as well," Byard said. "My path to where I am now definitely wasn't straight. … The thing we wanted to do (with the Safe Room) is to make sure these kids feel comfortable."