BOSTON (CBS) – When you talk about role models for kids we often think of someone who has sacrificed to make a difference.
One young man left a promising career in finance to mentor at-risk kids he sees it as an investment in our future.
“Being in finance, it really didn’t hit my soul, it’s not what I really wanted to do,” said Marquis Taylor, Founder of Coaching 4 Change.
When Marquis Taylor walked away from a lucrative career as a Boston investment banker, the Stonehill College graduate happily traded in a suit and tie for a sweatshirt and gym shoes, and he had a business plan.
“When I started this organization there was a statistic that said every 11 seconds a kid is dropping out of school. I wanted to find a way – how can I create something that improved young people’s lives the same way sports improved mine,” Taylor said.
He started his non-profit ‘Coaching 4 Change.’
You might call it a trickle-down theory.
College kids get credits for teaching at-risk Brockton High School students who are paid to be basketball coaches for younger kids.
“They become engaged. They become empowered and they develop a leadership voice,” said Taylor.
“I love basketball and I love working with kids it’s a really good experience for me,” said Coach Bernadey.
Twice a week the high school coaches then mentor 70 Brockton Middle School students. It’s filled a crucial gap. Last year all middle school sports across the city of Brockton were cut.
“There was always something to do every season and when that disappeared we were like OK what do we do now?” said Kevin Karo, Principal at Brockton South Middle School.
Marquis says the change only comes from making the connection that athletics can’t happen without academics.
The kids do homework, play math games and read before they shoot hoops. GPA’s are up and Principal Kevin Karo says the kids love it.
“So the kids know I got to do my schoolwork and then I can go and play and it’s the perfect combination- it really is,” said Principal Karo.
“We’re starting to really understand that giving these kids an opportunity to lead and to be mentors and role models to others really impacts them in the classroom,” Marquis Taylor said.
It costs $17,000 to run the program in Brockton and Marquis has a grant for that.
He says his goal is to expand beyond Brockton to reach other financially strapped communities across the entire commonwealth and then the nation.
If you’d like to learn more about coaching for change you can visit their website.