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Barbara Moore

Though Barbara Moore has taken care of and provided for her grandsons– Justin, Andrew, and Nathan– their whole lives, she became their legal guardian in January 2012. The boys’ mother struggled with addiction and their father had moved out due to that addiction. Now that Barbara is their guardian and caretaker, their father, who lives in another county, is able to visit with them once a week.

The kids say that without their grandmother, whom they call “Nanna,” they would have been separated and placed in foster homes. Barbara takes them for regular checkups and gets them ready for school. She also spends time with each of them to ensure that they develop to their fullest potential and so that they know they are special and deeply loved.

Justin, who is the oldest at 11 years old, likes to play Xbox, football, and baseball. He also really likes people. Justin had a hard time coping with having to care for his younger brothers, but the stability of living with his grandmother has made a huge difference in Justin’s ability to deal with his feelings. Justin is continuing to progress and thrive with the help of services from Centerstone and the support of his grandmother and brothers.

Andrew, now a loving 8 year old, enjoys putting puzzles together. Andrew has been diagnosed with autism. When he came to live with Barbara, he could not talk, could not feed himself, was not potty-trained and was not able to attend school because he was disruptive. She was told he needed to be institutionalized, but she refused. Now, with therapy and Barbara’s care, Andrew is able to sign to communicate and has learned 55 words. He is attending school every day and no longer has to be restrained on the bus. Andrew is also able to tell Barbara that he loves her.

Nathan, the youngest brother, is 7 years old. Nathan loves Nintendo, football, and playing outside. Nathan has been diagnosed with ADHD. When he first came to live with Barbara, she said he would climb on furniture and bounce off the walls. However, counseling and medication have made a huge difference in Nathan’s behavior. He is now calm and able to concentrate, and he loves school.

Just recently, Barbara was able to purchase a home for herself and the boys. Her previous home needed repairs and was not an ideal environment for the three boys. She said buying the home may cause some financial strain, but it is worth it because the boys needed a home that is safe, clean, and in good condition. Barbara says her faith and knowing that she is giving these boys a second chance at a happy life keeps her going.

Barbara is learning that caring for three boys is not easy, especially when they have special needs and she has disabilities herself. Barbara says, “I am trying to make up for all the bad things they have gone through.” Barbara’s courage and love for her grandchildren is making a positive difference in their lives. She says, “All they need is love and understanding, and they have already responded and are doing better.” For Barbara’s commitment to ensuring Justin, Nathan, and Andrew have a safe and loving home, we are proud to recognize Barbara as a Community Mother of the Year.

Photo: Rasha Dowell

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