Taylor’s smile and spunk bring energy to the room as she talks about her journey to Methodist Children’s Home. She has a confidence in her voice and a hopefulness in her heart – the type of personality that leads one to believe she was always a vibrant young lady with bold ideas for a bright future. But Taylor admits she did not always have such an optimistic outlook.
After losing her loving father, Taylor moved from home to home, finding it difficult adjusting to new environments and expectations. The grief of her father’s passing and uncertainty of where she belonged caused Taylor to express her feelings and manage her behaviors inappropriately. After a series of attempts to run away, Taylor and her grandmother agreed in 2020 that it would be best for her to come to MCH.
“When I arrived at MCH, I was pretty hot-headed and angry,” Taylor said. “I frequently got into arguments with staff and other students. At the time, I wondered why my family didn’t want me, but I soon realized they sent me to MCH for my own safety and to help me discover who I really was. If it wasn’t for MCH, I would still be running.”
Taylor initially made progress at MCH, but decided to leave after several close friends graduated from the residential program. While coping with the loss of her support system and lacking self-worth, Taylor was unsure of what to do on her own.
“I remember thinking, ‘What am I doing to myself?’ and having the realization I had the choice to either learn from MCH or run from it,” Taylor said.
Taylor eventually made the decision to return to MCH and take hold of the life and opportunities she had ahead of her.
Now 18 years old, Taylor participates in choir, and she is captain of the Bulldog cheer team and a member of the volleyball team. As cheer captain, Taylor quickly learned the importance of being a team player.
“I now know if we are going to reach our goals, it can’t be about me, it has to be about the team,” she said. “These experiences matured me in ways I didn’t see at the time, but now I understand we can only achieve our dreams when we work together.”
Taylor credits a number of MCH staff and good friends for supporting her while she found her true value and voice.
“One of my staff told me I was a smart, beautiful, intelligent woman of God, and capable of doing anything in this world,” she said. “It was her encouragement that helped me understand I really could make something of my life.”
Stephanie Cummings, residential supervisor on the Waco campus, said she is proud of the progress and changes Taylor has made the past two years.
“I have seen a lot of growth since she first came to MCH,” Cummings said. “Today, Taylor meets program expectations, completes her schoolwork, holds a job, and takes care of home responsibilities. She has turned into the strong young woman we knew she was capable of becoming when she arrived.”
Over time, Taylor has also developed trust with staff who have accepted, taught and come around her in moments of doubt and frustration.
“I believe there are people here who I can go to no matter the situation,” Taylor said. “If I’m hurting, there is someone to talk to or, if I’m happy, there is someone to celebrate with me. The people here are doing what they do out of love for me.”
Taylor is on track to graduate from the University of Texas–University Charter School in December 2022. After graduation, she plans to utilize the scholarship resources available through Transition Services to attend a community college before transferring to a four-year university to complete her undergraduate degree.
Taylor acknowledges she still has moments when she struggles with feelings of anger and resentment, but can see evidence of the improvements she has made at MCH.
Taylor said she hopes to either become a neurosurgeon or return to MCH to become a home parent. She wants to use her personal experience to connect with those in need because of the lasting impact MCH has had on her life.
“It’s always hard to adjust to a new place, but the growth you are able to experience at MCH makes it so worth it,” Taylor said.