Nov. 1, 2020
By Doug Marshall
President and CEO, Presbyterian Home for Children
For 35 years, Sharon J. Moore has seen hundreds of young lives pass before her as a social worker at the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega.
As the only staff member who teaches clients at the Home how to drive, she has probably seen her own life pass before her eyes as well.
“The minivan has a break on the teacher’s side,” said Felicia Storey, Moore’s friend and colleague at the Home. “I bet she’s mashed that thing right through the floor.”
Carol Copeland, longtime board member and rising moderator of the Home, recalled that she came up to a four-way stop in Talladega one day and saw the minivan with a young client at the wheel and Moore in the passenger’s seat.
“I don’t know who looked more frightened, the young lady or Sharon,” Copeland said.
“Drive” describes what Moore is all about. Storey explained that Moore had an accident in the family car when she was a teenager, and she swore she would never drive again. But her father put her behind the wheel and made her drive the roads of Henry County in southeast Alabama until she got past her fear.
It’s this kind of determination – and her Christian faith – that has made her a valuable member of the Home’s leadership team and an example to hundreds of children and families who have relied on the Home since she started in 1985. To commemorate her 35th Anniversary at the Home, Moore, an MSW alumna of the University of Alabama School of Social Work, was named Employee of the Month for October.
“Sharon radiates warmth and compassion, and at the same time, she is steady,” Copeland said. “She has herself under control. If you’re an adolescent who’s never had boundaries and suddenly you have those, you need someone who is unflappable.
“Sharon has Jesus walking right beside her.”
“Sharon is rooted in her faith,” she said. “She’s not just working in a position; she’s living out her discipleship in the work she does in the Home.”
Copeland said Moore “embodies the pillars of the Christian faith and has the ability to love without needing to control.
“It sounds like a cliché, but she gives our clients wings so they can fly, and you have to let them go,” she said.
Moore came to the Home as a Social Work undergraduate from Alabama State University and began her career as a Childcare Worker in the Home’s Basic Residential Care Program. Moore’s “zeal and enthusiasm” was always evident in the interactions with girls at the Home, Storey said.
“Sharon was firm, fair and knew how to have fun.”
Moore was promoted to basic residential social services as a social Worker and later became its director. The children at the Home loved and respected Moore, and it’s common for former residents to check in with Moore.
“… and to let her know how much her involvement in their lives at the Home has come to mean to them, as they started their careers and families,” Storey said.
Moore currently holds several positions at the Home. She is the director of transitional housing, which encompasses the direction and oversight of two programs: Transition to Adult Living (TAL) and Secure Dwellings.
Moore has enjoyed many milestones while at the Home. She met and married her husband of 24 years, Bobby Moore. She attended the University of Alabama, where she received her MSW. She is a field instructor for the University of Alabama, Talladega College and Jacksonville State University, and a PHFC in-service and group trainer.
Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega, Alabama is one of few organizations in the state caring for Alabama’s homeless boys and girls, along with their female caregivers in its Secure Dwellings Program. The Home also serves teenage girls who have been subject to extreme trauma or neglect in its Moderate Residential Care Therapeutic Program. The Home helps young female adults in crisis through its Transition to Adult Living Program and families in crisis through its In-Home Intensive Services.