Last fall, after months of fundraising and organizing, Ede Taylor led a team of volunteers in creating a new playground at Sinclair Lane Elementary School. Built in one day, the colorful recreation area features swings, slides and climbing structures arranged in a 2,500-square-foot raised bed of wooden mulch chips.
A project coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Health System’s Office of Community Health, Taylor is a lifetime resident of northeast Baltimore. She says that when drugs and other illegal activities claimed the area behind the local elementary school, she became concerned that neighborhood kids were risking their safety by playing in alleys and streets.
With no budget to renovate the school’s playground, she took on the project. Designing flyers, writing sponsorship grants, securing a DJ to entertain the volunteer workers she recruited—Taylor led the construction effort from start to finish.
It’s her latest project to improve her Belair-Edison neighborhood. In 2003, she started the Belair-Edison Healthy Community Coalition. Pulling together the strengths of other neighborhood groups, Taylor’s coalition helped organize after-school programs, overnight campouts and other activities for area children.
Four years ago, Taylor set out to fix the decrepit basketball courts behind the elementary school. She found a sponsor and a contractor, and she led a neighborhood charge to restore them. Now they’re prized by recreational leagues as well as local children.
She believes that Baltimore has all the resources it needs to thrive. “Nonprofits, business, churches,” she says. “There are such a lot people here who do good work. The challenge is bringing them all together.”