Scotland Neck, N.C. — A Scotland Neck woman who many people believe has single-handedly kept hundreds of children off the streets will get a national award this weekend.
Mildred Moore recalled the situation in her community 12 years ago: “There was no place for them to go. There was no roller skating here. There was no movies to go to. There were no activities for the children to go (to)," she said.
So Moore took the situation into her own hands and transformed a vacant lot into the Scotland Neck Recreation Center.
“All around here was nothing but trees, so I took about a month and just chopped the trees down with my saw, myself,” she said.
Now, school buses drop off children at the center every day. During the hours they spend there, children must get their homework done before getting to play.
Moore said she teaches the children as if they were her own.
“I try to be the children's grandmom, mom, friend, whatever it takes,” she said.
Her work hasn't gone unnoticed by either the community or the nation. This weekend, Moore will receive the Lewis Hines Award from the National Child Labor Committee for her work at the center. The award goes to 10 Americans for their work with children and youth.
“She had done so much for this community. She did so much, you can't name it all,” grandparent Doris Pittman said.
“As long as I can do it, I will be able to do it,” Moore said.
Moore says the supplies she gets at the rec center are donated. She usually has about 100 children who register, and attendance is free.