I’m Darlene Taylor
“So many take from our community, but very few give back.” These words, heard many years ago from her Aunt, have remained the inspiration for Darlene Taylor’s passion to work with the youth in her community. Ms. Taylor is the Executive Director for It Takes A Village To Help Our Children, Inc. A native of Crisfield, Md., Darlene returned home after 20 years working in Washington D.C. with government contracts. After moving back to Crisfield she discovered that her two school aged children, Jasmine and Jason, had no recreational activities available to them, either after school or on weekends.
In 2006, Darlene, along with six other parents and friends, got together and formed It Takes A Village… as a summer youth program. In 2009, merging with Help Our Children Foundation, Inc.,, founded by Pastor Elsie Lee Collier in 1992, the two organizations became one stronger voice in the community, aptly named - It Takes A Village to Help Our Children, Inc. which now serves approximately 200 children in both the community and local school settings. It Takes a Village to Help Our Children provides after school, summer, and college access programs for our youth.
A 1981 graduate of Crisfield High School and a 1985 graduate of Old Dominion University, Ms. Taylor spent more than 20 years working for Raytheon Technical Services Co. as a Program Manager for a major defense contract, she was responsible for managing over 150 people in 13 different locations world-wide. After semi-retiring and relocating back to Somerset County, Ms. Taylor served as the Director for the Somerset County Public Schools GEAR UP Program, a program designed to increase the number of low income students who attend college. She also served as a Parent Liaison for Somerset County Public Schools, all while continuing her mission to lead It Takes a Village to Help Our Children. Taking the non-profit from its humble beginnings with an x-box raffle, to securing more than ½ million dollars in operational funding.
As an active community member, Ms. Taylor has served on numerous boards and committees, including, the Greater Crisfield Action Coalition, the Democratic Central Committee, the Somerset County Local Management Board of Directors, the Minority Achievement Committee, the Somerset County Drug Free Coalition, the Crisfield Community Prevention Works Drug Free Coalition, the Nehemiah Coalition, the Somerset County 4H Board of Directors, Somerset Early Learning Advisory Council, and the Somerset County Long Term Recovery Committee. Ms. Taylor is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Ms. Taylor credits who she is to a mother and family who taught her to believe in herself, but most of all, to believe all things are possible through Jesus Christ who strengthens us; her faith is her Rock - Ms. Taylor is also a faithful member of Shiloh United Methodist Church in Crisfield, Md., the church she grew up in. She assists with the church’s youth ministry and is the Chaplain for the Shiloh Unity Gospel Choir.
Ms. Taylor believes that, “we all have an obligation to give back, in any way we can. While we all have different gifts and talents we must use them to help others to the glory of God!”
Recent Community Awards and Professional Recognition include,
2020 Maryland’s Most Admired CEO Award
2011 Maryland State Department of Education Certificate of Excellence for Out of School Time Programs
2012 Tri-County Organizations’ Coalition, Inc. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Achievement Award
2013 Somerset County NAACP Commitment to Academic Achievement Award
2020 Marion United Methodist Church Role Model Hall of Fame Merit Award
2009, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Pi Alpha Chapter Outstanding Contribution Award
2009, Eastern Shore Past Grand Daughters’ Circle I.B.P.O.E. of W Invaluable Service Award
2008, 2014 Somerset County Board of Education Appreciation and Parent Advisory Award