I have been working with the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency at Truman High School in Taylor, Michigan. I am very familiar with this community because I have lived in Taylor for about 18 years and I graduated from Truman High School. I have really enjoyed working in the city that I live in and I think it has connected me with my community even further.

When driving around Taylor I noticed a lot of things that affect students in the community. There have been 6 elementary school closings in the past 10 years and these buildings are currently vacant. This a huge disadvantage for the students because their class sizes have increased dramatically due to school closings. About four years ago, the 6th grade academy opened and now educates all of the district’s 6th grade students. The idea is that the students can get used to the changes that middle school can bring and to socialize the students more efficiently. 

As for the high schools, there are two: Harry S Truman High School and John F. Kennedy High School. Both of these schools have many programs for students after school. Programs such as the Wayne Metro group, City Year, after school tutoring and much more. These programs are mostly funded from outside of the district and help to save a lot of money and benefit the students socially and academically. There is also the Taylor Teen Health center that students can use as a resource in their community. The students can come to this center for help with social problems, sexual health, peer mediation and health issues. This program does a lot to help students in any way they can and they even put up summer camps to assist with the growth of the children in the community.

In cooperation with each of the high schools, the district also maintains at Career Services Center for the High School students who want to get hands on experience in a certain skill. These programs include: Culinary Arts/Hospitality & Tourism, Animation and Web Design, Computer Programming, Entrepreneurship and Business Management, Construction Remolding/Repair, Health Sciences, and Welding & Fabrication. I think that this particular school is a great resource for the students but when I attended Truman, I had no idea that the Career center offered so many programs. I think that the district should promote and utilize this program more. 

During my drive around the community, I noticed a lot of buildings that are no longer used. The community center, for example, has been closed down and the pool has been filled in with cement. Five years ago, the city of Taylor had 2 community pools for the residents to use and today they are both permanently closed. There are several community sports leagues that  meet at two city parks (Heritage and Papp park). These programs continue to grow each year but the parks that they are using seem to be kept up less and less. When visiting the parks, I noticed that several of the play grounds have been taken apart. I noticed that most of what made these parks enjoyable for me when I was young have been stripped away. There are still some positive things in the community but unfortunately most of the activities take place during the summer. I imagine because it is easier to get people to attend events when the weather is nice. Overall, I would say that Taylor is the typical urban community. It has some disadvantages throughout the area but it certainly has benefits that tend to not be publicized enough.

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