13-year-old Tripp Taylor speaks at Daystar Church. / Courtesy of Taylor family
GOOD HOPE – When Robert Taylor lost his sister Ashley Taylor to a heroin overdose in Dec. 2016, he was overwhelmed. He and his wife had helped raise his sister after the death of their father when Ashley was 11 years old. She became almost a child of the family, and a sister to Robert Taylor’s children.
“It really took a toll on me, and it really took a very bad toll on my wife. Well, we had a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old also, and they looked at her more like a sister than an aunt, you know. And we never realized what effect it had on them.”
When Robert Taylor ran into a local pastor who struck up a conversation about Robert’s son, the now 13-year-old Tripp Taylor, the dad discovered that his son had been in touch with several local churches about starting a ministry for kids whose parents are no longer around, especially due to drugs. When he spoke to Tripp about his idea, his son told him:
“You know, Daddy, I go to school with a bunch of kids, and I see it. In their eyes, I can see it: that they’re hurting. And everybody always focuses on the addict–we’ve got to get them clean, got to get them out of jail and back at work, and all that.
“A lot of times, the kids sit back and go ‘Why? Why is my mother on drugs?’ or ‘Why is my daddy in jail?’ or ‘Why do I live with my grandparents?’ or somebody else. I just want to be a voice for the voiceless. I want to reach out to these kids, and share the love of God, and let them know that somebody cares. If we don’t, the apples don’t fall far from the tree.”
Starting in 2017 the Taylor family has participated in numerous heroin addiction awareness events from Birmingham to Huntsville. Since that time, Tripp Taylor has begun receiving invitations to speak to churches and recovery groups across the state. In 2017, he and his family organized their efforts into an active group, about which he explained to The Tribune:
“My organization is called ‘My Story Isn’t Over: The Right Fight Outreach,’ and we’re an outreach ministry to help troubled kids in bad homes. This, most of the time, includes parents who have an addiction, they’re incarcerated, they’ve passed away from an addiction, or walked out of their lives. And what we’re passionate about is trying to bring these kids to God, and giving them a hope, and being a voice for them, because they don’t know how to speak for themselves because they’ve felt unwanted for so long.”
Recently, even churches in Birmingham have cranked up their own similar programs, based on Tripp’s model. The Taylors hope to see similar movements rise up in communities all over the state.
On Tuesday evening, ahead of this Saturday’s heroin awareness walk in Birmingham, My Story Isn’t Over: The Right Fight Outreach will hold a meeting at 6 p.m. at Church 212, 4690 County Road 437, Cullman. At the meeting, visitors will have the opportunity to meet Tripp and hear his story, find out what the organization is doing, and find ways they can become involved. The public and especially those who are struggling with the loss or absence of a parent are invited and encouraged to attend.
Tripp Taylor told us at the end of our conversation:
“What I would want people to know, for the most part, is what we do at My Story Isn’t Over: The Right Fight Outreach, and that is we go out and serve these kids, and we give them a way to feel welcome and a child of God. See, they may not feel like a child in their own home, but if they can turn to God and learn to focus on Him, they will be a child of God through Him.
“So I think the biggest thing I would want people to know about us is that we’re God-centered, and we want to be a voice for these kids, and just bring them hope in their everyday lives.”
At a glance
My Story Isn’t Over: The Right Fight Outreach public information meeting
Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.
Church 212, 4690 County Road 437, Cullman
For more information, visit www.mystorythefightoutreach.com/ or www.facebook.com/MyStoryTheFightOutreach.
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