Voyage Raleigh – Meet Darlena Moore

From Voyage Raleigh –

Today we’d like to introduce you to Darlena Moore.

Alright, thank you for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us how you got started?
My mother died when I was 11. She was a single mom of 5 kids. We were all split up, and I was placed with relatives for a while. That situation didn’t work out, and after 4 years, I was placed in foster care. After several placements, I ended up at the home of Dick and Mary Gilbert in Asheville, NC. It was a shelter where kids were to stay for 30 days until the social worker could find housing. I never left. Dick and Mary kept me there and helped me find my way. They saved the social security checks I received from my mother’s death and, with grants and loans, helped me through the college application process. Fast forward, a career, married, 2 children, and I wanted to honor the Gilberts somehow. I had moved to Raleigh and decided to volunteer at the Fostering Bright Futures Program at Wake Technical College. This program nurtures youth from the foster care system and helps them with the many obstacles that keep them from graduating from college. I met some youth, and many memories of my foster care came flooding back. I decided that I needed to do more than just mentor and volunteer. I started cooking granola out of my home to sell, with 100% of proceeds going to a scholarship named in honor of the Gilberts. In 2016, I awarded my first Gilbert Scholarship to a young man in the FBF program, who later went on to work in banking. Since then, I have expanded the number of North Carolina colleges I work with to 9, and have given 38 scholarships to students from foster care, totaling $56,500.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
I had never run a food business or a non-profit, so learning how to maneuver my way through both simultaneously was a challenge. Once Covid hit, I decided the food business was too much, so I began to speak and get my story out, and now that’s a large part of how I am fundraising.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I have a marketing and writing background and began my career in those fields, but I have always volunteered, especially for youth in foster care. I was a Guardian ad litem for 6 years, volunteered for Meals on Wheels, etc. I did free marketing work for foster care organizations. I have a 501c3 non-profit, and I have found a way to honor my foster parents and pay it forward. The Gilberts are in their 90s now. They dedicated their lives to youth in foster care, so I am proud of this organization and what it has accomplished in such a short time.

Do you have any advice for those just starting?
Young people are so smart–way beyond where I was at their age!

Here are a few go-to’s that I use:
– Figure out what caused you pain in life and alleviate that pain for someone else.
– I love this one. I’ve used it a lot! I don’t know what I’m doing, but something inside me does.
– Find a good mentor who knows what they are doing and be willing to learn.
– Let your story unfold. Don’t force it. The right thing will come to you.
– Leave the world a better place than you found it.


  • $1500-2500, amount of 1 scholarship

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