William Smack knows something about going down the wrong path as a kid. Now he is trying to help Seaford’s youth through his mentoring program.
That program, along with his barber shop and other area businesses, has a new home in the old Layton Theater building. While the businesses are already operating in the Minds of Moguls Business Park, Smack plans to renovate the theater to create an area for kids ages 10-13 as well as other community organizations.
William Smack is shown in the balcony area of the old Layton Theater in Seaford. Smack plans to renovate the area and make it a gaming/homework/meeting center. Photo by Mike McClure
“There’s nothing to me better than seeing someone turn their life around,” said Smack. “What I do now is all based on what I experienced at that terrible time when I was on the street (at age 13).”
Smack’s barber shop, Hair Hustlers, is open for business in the building along with other local businesses including With Love Jah Styles (barber), realtor Harrison Domercant, Pneuma Wellness and Spa, and Queen Beez Cleaning. Smack is renting out suites in the business park.
“It (the center) means a lot to me,” said Gordon S. Walker, Jr., a massage technician and owner of Pneuma Wellness and Spa. The space allows customers to come to Walker for massages, yoga, and other services, though he still goes to clients as well.
“They (customers) have somewhere to meet with me anytime,” Domercant, a real estate agent in Maryland and Delaware, added.
Smack also renovated the apartments above the center and is renting them out to a pair of 20 year-olds.
Smack’s ultimate goal is to convert the theater’s upstairs balcony into a gaming center. “This space has been sitting here vacant for a while. This is a historic spot that a lot of people overlook.”
Smack plans to have a theater style screen and theater seating in the gaming center. He wants to hold gaming tournaments, which he believes will draw kids in need of mentoring to take part in his Minds of Mentoring Education and Entrepreneurship program.
To participate kids will need to have a certain GPA and will be required to come to after school programs and get tutoring and mentoring. The program is meant for kids who are going sideways and are in need of help.
“God showed me the direction I need to go to do this,” said Smack. “I was one of these kids.”
Smack said he plans to share the ups and downs of his life with the kids in hopes that they do not follow the same path he did as a teen.
“My motivation is not about myself. My motivation is people that are like me,” he said. “A lot of times you have to go where they’re at to get them where you want them to be. It’s going to be a facility for change.”
Smack said the gaming area will provide something for kids to do, away from the streets. He would also like to use the facility to host seminars and AA classes.
“That’s what this place is about, helping people out,” said Smack. “It took me awhile to get here. I was born to do this.”
Smack is also looking at doing a You Tube channel and posting names of sponsors on the wall.
On Dec. 11 he will hold a benefit dinner for his program at the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club. The free dinner is by invitation.