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Jefferson Awards: Operation More Hope empowers Indianapolis students with literacy

Program helps kids succeed academically and in life
Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 18:59:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Dr. Seuss said it best: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Hope Moore’s passion to ensure Indianapolis students can go wherever they dream, with the literacy skills to help get them there.

Literacy is the gateway to learning. If you can read, you can grow.

“Reading can transport kids to different worlds. It can open up avenues. You know, literacy is critical in everything that you do. No matter what you do, you have to be able to read,” Moore said.

Hope Moore is the founder and passionate director of Operation More Hope, an after school program at New Era Church in Indianapolis. Operation More Hope helps students at Ignite Achievement Academy succeed academically and in life.

“This is a sad statistic for me, but basically, most African American, Latino, kids of color, their vocabulary is about 6,000 words short of the average Caucasian kid,” Moore said. “So, in order for kids to get their vocabulary, they got to read. And we know if you can read, you can do anything.”

Moore and her Operation More Hope team takes kids from Ignite who need a hand up. The students work with a group of educators for a few hours after their classes throughout the school week, being tutored in reading and math. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Operation More Hope provided meals to the kids when they were at the church.

“We know that she has turned her vision into a reality,” said Jackie Cole, a volunteer of Operation More Hope. “And we know how much this means to her. And if it wasn't for that godly vision, then we wouldn't be here. We wouldn't be here to service the kids that really need it and we always say in our staff meetings that if we just get one child to come back and say 'Hey! I remember OMH, this is what OMH has done for me.' Then you know that we have been successful.”

This week, the Operation More Hope team prepared books and movie gift bags for families to pick up at a drive-thru for group zoom reading sessions with Dr. Seuss books.

“I was getting to read ‘Oh The Places You Go!’ and that is why we choose this book specifically for our babies that they could know, you know what, just because you were born in this part of the city and live in this zip code, it doesn't mean that is where you have to stay,” Moore said. “If you can read enough, work hard enough, oh the places you go.”

Moore’s passion to share the gift of literacy is making a difference to the young learners. WRTV honors Moore dedication to the community with awarding her the Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good.

"We believe that it takes a whole village to raise a child and she and the whole entire team is definitely part of our village,” said Jessica English, the Principal at Ignite Achievement Academy. “I couldn't think of anyone more well-deserving of this award than Sister Hope.”

Fifth graders at Ignite Achievement Academy have been reading with Moore for the past academic year.

“She is a hard working woman and sometimes she can be strict but she makes sure we are on the right track,” said fifth grade student, Dayra Carcamo-Serrano.

As Moore continues to put books into the hands of Indianapolis kids, she empowers a future generation of Hoosiers who will have a love of reading, a love for knowledge and a love for learning, so they too can go to all the places they want to go.

“My goal in this program is that these kids have a chance, that they have an opportunity,” Moore said. "If they can read, they can succeed. We can stop that third grade to prison pipeline. And probably all of them won't maybe go off to college but if they can learn a trade, if they can be literate enough that they can fill out a job application and know how to present themselves then we will have succeeded.”

Moore’s efforts goes far beyond just tutoring in reading. For the past eight years, Operation More Hope has expanded to address not only academic needs but has also incorporated different activities to help students become well-rounded individuals with cultural enrichment, family support and social skills, to name a few.

Operation More Hope has adjusted their format to serve the families safely.