By A.J Dugger III
Michael Moore has endured a hard year, including the death of a son and the departure of their mother.
October 20 was graduation day for the participants of Nashville’s New Life Program, a relatively new organization known for offering financial and parental assistance to struggling fathers in Nashville. “The objective is to provide fathers with the skills, knowledge and support they need to become more positively involved in the lives of their children in order to maximize health and well-being of Nashville’s families,” said Robert Taylor, founder of New Life.
A recent graduate of the program is Michael Moore, a 20 year-old single father raising two small boys.
Five months ago, Moore was enjoying his life. He adored his girlfriend and their three sons. A graduate of Maplewood High School, Moore enrolled at Anthem College in January. However, his college career didn’t last long. On April 26, his girlfriend decided to pack up and abandon Moore and the kids. When she left him, Moore began to suffer mentally and financially. He lost his job and was put out of school. Things took an even uglier turn the next month when one their sons died from sudden infant death syndrome. With no one to turn to, Moore started seeing a counselor who informed him about New Life.
Things began to look up a bit when Moore got involved with the program. “They tell us a lot,” said Moore. “They let us know where some of our fathers messed up at. Our fathers walking out of our lives is the problem with our generation. I’m willing to make an exception to that because my father wasn’t there for me. All I can do is be there for my boys and work hard.”
Moore certainly works hard. He is a cook and dishwasher at O’ Charleys and also works as a case picker at a warehouse
Fatherhood is important to Moore, who can’t understand why so many men abandon their families. “I don’t think they don’t want another man taking care of their kids, but they leave anyway. That’s why so many kids are messed up now. They’ve seen their moms with so many different people.”
After spending eight weeks in the program, Moore was among the many graduates on Saturday. One of his jobs attempted to interfere with his accomplishment. “They requested me to come into work that day, but I told them I’m graduating. I’m not missing that graduation,” he said.
Because New Life has done a lot for fathers in the community, Moore wishes the program could get more exposure. “I wish more people knew about it. We should do a commercial about it and put it on TV,” he suggested.
Moore has two remaining sons, aged 3 and 1. Despite his horrible circumstances earlier this year, Moore presses on and has advice for the negligent fathers out there. “Take care of your kids.”