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Doctoral student's philosophy of giving leads to supporting school in Tanzania and mentoring program in C-U

by Sal Nudo / Jul 15, 2014

The importance of giving is a driving factor in the life of Eugene Moore, M.Ed. ’03 HRE. The 35-year-old doctoral student at the College doesn’t believe a person has to wait until he or she has “arrived” financially or otherwise in order to contribute to society.

That’s why he established and annually donates to two scholarships at the University of Illinois in the names of close relatives who inspired him to become a first-generation college graduate in his family: his mother, Diane; and his grandmother, Ann.

Moore is modest about his yearly scholarship contributions but assertive about taking the initiative to be of service.

“You can always do something, though no one’s really asking you to do anything,” he said. “You just see a need and you say, ‘I want to be that example.’ That’s how I choose to live my life.”

The generosity of Moore, an Urbana resident with a fiancé and two boys, ages 13 and 4, extends beyond C-U. He has volunteered his time and money to help establish Sacred Heart Secondary School in Tanzania, a 9th- to 14th-grade school that remains a work in progress but has annual enrollments of more than 350 students.

Eugene Moore with fellow volunteers in TanzaniaMoore was impressed by the enthusiasm Tanzanian children showed for attending school when he visited the country in 2012.

“It’s phenomenal. There was a huge eagerness and yearning for education,” he said.

He is in the process of establishing Assurance Creek Youth Program (ACYP), a nonprofit organization that will provide an educational three-week summer program in Urbana-Champaign for children in elementary school and high school. ACYP will select children and teenagers from rural and urban areas who sincerely want to learn but face challenges such as poverty or living in a single-parent home.

Moore’s research focus in his doctorate program is on mentoring, a passion of his because he had influential mentors while growing up in a single-parent home. When ACYP is in operation with its first cohort in 2016, he will partner with independent researchers to perform a longitudinal study that tracks how effectively the program and its mentorship helped the children and teenagers gain entrance to top-tier high schools and colleges.

“There are some people who believe that mentorship has its challenges,” he said. “I believe that if it is done well, it serves a great component in helping kids to achieve success. Kind of similar to how a child will always be able to remember that great teacher.”

Laurie Samuels, a fellow UI graduate and Moore’s friend and lawyer who lives in Chicago, said she has worked with numerous CEOs of nonprofit organizations who have good intentions but are deeply out of touch with the population they’re attempting to serve. Moore is not like that, in her opinion.

“I think that’s what will set his organization apart,” Samuels said. “Not just that he knows there are children who need assistance, but that he is in touch with that population and really wants to help tap into their gifts and talents. I strongly believe that that’s why this organization is different from other organizations that I’ve seen, and why it’ll be a huge success.”

Moore, a difference-maker who measures success not by personal achievement but by how one positively influences another individual when paths cross, is eager to prove Samuels right.

“I love this place, and that’s why I strategically wanted to place Assurance Creek Youth in this community. I believe this is where I’m supposed to be,” he said.


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