Taelyr Roberts ’15 is a busy person. She’s president of the Slam Poetry Club, vice president of the Black Student Union, and student coordinator of the Barton Road After-School Program, which offers activities for children living in a local public housing complex. And, until recently, Roberts ran a successful jewelry-making business that she had to close only because she was receiving too many orders.
One wonders, how does she do it all? “The grace of God,” says Roberts, who’s from Dallas. “I’m serious. There is no explanation for me doing all that I do and remaining sane other than divine intervention.”
How important is being creative to you? Oh, extremely important. I think business is an affinity of mine, but I don’t by any stretch of the imagination believe that I am a business student. I am a liberal arts student at a business school. Creativity is a huge part of who I am.
What’s it like reading poetry on stage? You honestly fall in love with the microphone, and you fall in love with the experience. There’s just something about it that leaves you feeling refreshed. You leave all that you have on the stage, and to know that people appreciate you for being willing to do that, it’s really rewarding.
Tell us about the Barton Road program. The students that I work with live in a Wellesley Housing Authority development. Their parents might be living paycheck to paycheck, but they’re in Wellesley. There’s a very apparent socioeconomic divide in their classrooms, in their lunchrooms. I think that produces a very weird dynamic and a really weird head space for a child. I think it’s important that they can come to a place where they feel loved and appreciated and valued. I hope that we provide that. I think we do.
What are you particularly proud of? My relationships are something that I’m incredibly proud of. I was talking to a couple of friends who told me, you give the greatest hugs. I was like, I don’t know what makes my hugs different than anybody else’s. And one of them said, “They’re genuine. You give hugs with love, and you give them with sincerity.” I was like, OK, maybe that’s it. Because I don’t hug people who I don’t want to hug.
How’s New England treating you? The biggest thing I’m still getting over is people aren’t as friendly. You can walk down the street in Dallas and say, “Hi, how are you doing,” and people won’t look at you weird. If I did the same thing in New England, someone might think I’m crazy. —John Crawford