Hidden Figure: Cherise Moore
Crystal :Tell me something about yourself?
Cherise: Picture a young lady trying to get somewhere that she cannot see, but her eyes are open. That’s me! My parents had four children at a young age, which means they struggled to manage financially. My mother and father worked, which left my siblings and I to grow up a little faster than others our ages. We learned how to survive. Due to my parents traveling from Jamaica to Philadelphia, I didn’t get a chance to hold onto many friendships. It wasn’t until 3rd grade, in Philadelphia, that I found a bond with others. I received a full scholarship to any college I chose based on my status. The fact that I was underprivileged has benefitted me to some great degree at this time in my life. Of course, my family moved away to Florida by the time I was getting ready to go into 6th grade. I made a vow to myself that I would always give back to others if I could just make it to college. I finally graduated high school and was accepted into Bethune-Cookman College; now University. I started with a desire to be an educator. I remember someone said to me, “I think you would be a great attorney because you never give up.” That made me look at things differently and thought that was a sign to change my major to Criminal Justice. I felt that was a way I could definitely make an impact on others and the outcome of their life. I graduated with my B.S in Criminal Justice. My first job 4 months later was as a Juvenile Probation Officer. I decided I wanted to get my Master Degree because these kids did not have anyone to really talk to about their problems/issues. I graduated from Webster University with my Masters of Arts in Community Counseling and Mental Health. I then worked for the Department of Children and Families as an investigator and did outpatient therapy in my community. I then realized the impact of these children’s lives starts from home. Most of the at-risk kids were in single parent homes. I then received a job opportunity at a maximum security prison as a Psychotherapist. This job was the most rewarding, but also the most frustrating job I’ve ever had. I was now able to see what the parents were thinking behind bars. This job gave me a different satisfaction in life. I wanted to embark on putting all the pieces together and decided to now get an Educational Leadership degree so I could get into the educational piece of their lives because this is where they spend most of their time. I now work at school as in intake/outreach counselor for at risk girls and I love it!
Crystal: What does mentoring mean to you?
Cherise: Being able to give someone else an opportunity to embrace the values that I have learned will help them have a better future. I believe that each one deserves an opportunity to find his or her voice, achieve his or her potential and celebrate a life defined by responsibility, dignity, serenity, and grace.
Crystal: As a mentor, how do you think the movie Hidden Figures inspired young girls?
Cherise: I think the movie has a positive impact on young girls. It really made me think about all the opportunities that young girls and women miss just because they are female. It breaks my heart. My hope is one day, WE will all be on the same page.
Crystal: How did the movie impact your life?
Cherise: Tremendously. It has re-inspired me to continue to find my complete purpose. Finding where I want to be in a career. It has also inspired me to never give up on my own dreams! Since this movie, I have re-enrolled in school to finish my Ph.D. I have also registered to take 2 state exams that I have put to the side. I have realized that life is really short. While I am here on earth, I want to continue to educate as many young people and people at risk that I can with all the education, wisdom, and experience I can share. Of course, I also realized it really takes a village to raise a child because all my pieces connect in some way or another.
Crystal: Who is your Hidden Figure/mentor?
Cherise: Mrs. Toll from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This woman paid for me to go to college. Without her, I would not have this opportunity to give back like she gave back to me.
Crystal: As a graduate of the historic Bethune-Cookman University, do you believe HBCU’s pay a role in social justice?
Cherise: Absolutely. They give opportunities for young adults of minority status to have a better future.
Crystal: What are you passionate about?
Cherise: Helping kids and adults at risk.
Crystal: What is your favorite quote?
Cherise: “Everything happens for a reason.”
Crystal: What is your favorite book?
Cherise: Any book that Crystal Myers writes J
Crystal: What is your dream?
Cherise: Obtain my Ph.D. and have a school designated for at risk kids.
Crystal: What words of inspiration can you leave the audience?
Cherise: Never settle for anything less than you feel you deserve. Always follow your dreams. Never give up on yourself.