GROWING AS A LEADER
“There is a whole ecosystem of support within the school system that plays a part in how kids grow up, whether they go to college and explore career paths. This training has helped me talk and enlighten upper school management about race, social issues, and personal beliefs without resulting in hurt feelings. Having the ability to navigate tough conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion is key. Everyone is ready to engage and wants to see things change, but there is a lot of listening, learning, and shedding of perceptions that need to take place. I’m glad I’m in a better position to help.”
When Marquis Taylor grew up in South Central LA, he struggled in school. However, he was a strong athlete, which provided him with access to resources and support. His coaches and mentors helped him build his confidence and stay out of trouble enabling him to enjoy a very successful academic life. Marquis recognized that he was very fortunate and that many other kids from his neighborhood were a drift through the system.
Inspired to do something about this imbalance, in 2010, while in graduate school, Taylor started Coaching4Change. Based out of Taunton, his organization connects K-12 and college students with mentors, often college students themselves. Marquis believes “college students want to make a difference. Those with shared experiences are particularly effective in encouraging and connecting with students. Helping them t navigate conflict resolution, celebrating small wins, and coaching them to bring their best selves to the school community.”
But Marquis’ work doesn’t stop there. It’s more than just working with the kids but collaborating with school administration. Coaching4Change provides schools with additional support staff to help improve student’s attendance, behavior, and engagement. Staffing shortages contribute to whether young people get the support they need to thrive, which was particularly critical during the pandemic.
Marquis’ Leadership Equity grant from the Community Foundation enabled him to tap resources and training that strengthened his leadership and diplomacy skills helping him effectively partner with the schools and navigate tough conversations.