After 20 years of working in program management in the corporate world, Darlene Taylor returned to Somerset County. There, with the help of a group of like-minded friends, she started a nonprofit organization to help meet the need they saw for academic and recreational activities for young people
Today that Crisfield-based organization, It Takes a Village to Help Our Children Inc., with Taylor at the helm as executive director, provides college and career readiness services for high school children from low-income families, runs an after-school learning program that provides homework help, field trips and daily meals for at-risk children, and much more.
The nonprofit has gone from two employees to 30 and secured some $1.5 million in operational and capital funding.
“Being in the poorest county in Maryland, our economic times are always tough times,” she said. “We serve many students living 130 percent below the poverty level. We have been successful by using collaboration with existing resources to fill the gaps; organizations and agencies such as 4H, Girl Scouts, United Way, Crisfield Chamber of Commerce, Maryland Food Bank, and the Judy Center, are just a few of our partners to success.”
Taylor describes her leadership style as “one of inclusion and accountability. It truly does take a village, and that philosophy has been key to our success.
“We need each other,” she added. “We all bring something important to the table and there is an expectation that everyone must do their part in order for the collective to succeed.”
Taylor earned a B.S in computer science from Old Dominion University.
She is active in a long list of local organizations, including the Somerset Early Learning Advisory Council, Greater Crisfield Action Coalition and the Crisfield Community Drug Free Coalition.
“We all bring something important to the table and there is an expectation that everyone must do their part in order for the collective to succeed.”