A little over a year ago, Marquis Taylor '06 started a program called Coaching for Change, which gives at-risk high school students the tools to become active leaders and role models in their communities through coaching.
In early June, Taylor's innovative initiative was hailed as a "bold idea" by the nonprofit organization Echoing Green, which named the former Skyhawk basketball star as one of its 2012 Black Male Achievement Fellows.
Of the thousands who compete for an Echoing Green fellowship, less than one percent is chosen for the premier program. Among Echoing Green's previous honorees are Wendy Kopp who founded Teach for America and Alan Khazei who founded City Year.
"Echoing Green's goal is to unleash the next generation talent to solve the world's biggest problems and to be recognized as a problem solver means so much to what I want to achieve. It is an amazing endorsement," said Taylor, who will also receive a stipend of $70,000 over the next eighteen months to help him develop Coaching for Change.
Although Taylor, a communication major, played his last game in a Stonehill basketball uniform six years ago, he readily admits that the ideals instilled in him by Head Coach Dave McLaughlin remain fresh in his mind. In fact, the life lessons that he learned during his days as a student-athlete are what motivated him to start Coaching for Change.
The program seeks to provide at-risk high school students from Brockton and other local areas the tools to become active leaders and role models in their communities through coaching. Last summer's program consisted of five weeks of training sessions for the participants at the Boys & Girls Club of Brockton, culminating with three weeks of working at the Stonehill-run summer basketball camps.
The program not only taught the participants coaching skills, but also business and entrepreneurial skills, notes Taylor. The students were paid for their work through funding provided by the Boys & Girls Club, foundations, private donors and from Taylor's own pocket.
"My goal is to be able to create leaders within the community-to help kids understand how coaching skills transfer to other aspects of their lives," says Taylor.
At the camps, participants worked with student-athletes from the Skyhawk men's and women's basketball teams, a number of whom served as mentors, teaching the high school student the leadership skills needed to coach and train elementary school-aged children.
At the same time, Taylor notes, working with Stonehill's student-athletes provided the at-risk youth with a vehicle to keep them on track and thinking about college.
"The ultimate goal is for this to become a statewide initiative which will expose at-risk youth to a large network of people that can help them access their dreams and their own vision."
An after-school basketball program where high school students coach first through fifth graders has already been implemented at the Boys & Girls Club. Stonehill students continue to serve as mentors.
Taylor credits Coach McLaughlin for teaching him how to have his own vision. "When I started at Stonehill, we were dead last in the conference, but, by the time I left, we were heading to the Final Four." Going from worst to first, with McLaughlin as his mentor, taught Taylor how to stay focused on his goals. "Coach taught me how to create a plan and to plug away slowly."
As a player for Stonehill, Taylor ended his four-year career 14th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,361 points and was a First Team All-Northeast-10 selection his senior year in 2005-06. That year, the team had a program record 27 wins as it reached the NCAA Division II Final Four for the first time in College history.
Through hard work and a vision to create a better life for at-risk youth, Taylor is now seeing through to his own dreams as a Stonehill alumnus.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.