Friday, October 26, 2012

(The Floyd Taylor Story)

This is a 3 part series detailing the story of Floyd Taylor a youth member of the
Forward South Bronx Coalition.  
by Cedric McClester
Sometimes coming together can be transformative.  Such was the case for 20 year old Floyd Taylor, a Sports Foundation (SFI) alumnae and youth member of the Forward South Bronx Coalition (FSBC).  FSBC is a newly formed coalition of interested community parties, representing various segments of the South Bronx community, that have joined together, in order  to have a positive impact on youth surrounding the issues of alcohol tobacco and other drugs.  Alcohol tobacco and other drugs have negatively impacted Bronx youth in general and the Longwood section of the Bronx in particular.  Floyd was recently given an opportunity of a lifetime, when he was asked to represent the Forward South Bronx Coalition at the CADCA Mid-Year Conference, in Tennessee this past July.

Since being exposed to the SFI, Taylor has grown tremendously as an individual.  He’s gone from a somewhat shy youth, into the articulate outgoing person he is today.  Like many New York youngsters, he has had little exposure outside of the Bronx.  His world primarily consisted of his neighborhood.  By his own admission, he used to be influenced by the crowd with which he associated.  It was through hanging out with the wrong kinds of individuals, that resulted in the court referral that brought him to SFI in the first place.  When this observer met him, he was conflicted.  He knew he needed to make a change but found it hard to disassociate from the people places and things  to which he was accustomed. 

Interestingly, Floyd was no stranger to change.  At one time in his life, in the not so distant past, Floyd who is approximately five feet, eleven inches hit the scale at a whopping 340 pounds.  He is now a svelte 198 pounds.  The kind of intestinal fortitude it took for him to lose 142 pounds was what it took to change the trajectory of his life. Enter Sports Foundation counselor Segundo Lopez who conveyed to Floyd his sincere concern with how his life was going.  At the time, because of his frequent marijuana use and his experimentation with other substances, in addition to the crowd he was hanging with, there was reason for concern.  Lopez  enlisted the aid of this observer in trying to convince Floyd to enroll in a residential substance abuse treatment program, where he could get his high school equivalency diploma and get away from the people, places and things that were contributing factors to his predicament.  Floyd wrestled with the decision he had to make, which for him was monumental.  In the end he opted to stay at home.  To his credit, he found a program that offered GED training and testing and became the first person in his family to graduate high school.

End of Part One

About the Contributing Blogger
Cedric McClester is the Director of Community Relations for SFI (formerly Sports Foundation, Inc.).  Sports Foundation Inc. is a social service organization that provides free counseling, sports, health and education programs and activities for today's youth.  He is also the coordinator of the Forward South Bronx Coalition.  The vision of the Forward South Bronx Coalition (FSBC) is to create a culture within the South Bronx that promotes healthy living, hopefulness, and connectedness within the community to instill a sense of present and future possibilities.