Striving to Make The World a Better Place
By Steven Hoffman
Simply put, Rosa G. Moore is a woman who cares about others and wants to make the world a better place. But beyond that sentiment, Moore’s compassion is manifested in action.
From her stint in the Peace Corps to working with La Comunidad Hispana to becoming a registered nurse, the chosen paths that this new Kennett Square Borough Council member takes are ones that lead to helping her community.
“They had originally approached my husband [Chris Moore] about running [for borough council],” Moore recalled, “but he was too busy. But the idea was planted in my head.” About two years later, when the opportunity presented itself, she believed the time was right for her to pursue the position. “I thought I could reasonably fit it into my life,” she said with a laugh.
Moore, who was sworn in in January and is serving a four-year term, was one of three elected to the seven-member council, and was named its vice president. She sits on the Personnel and Revolving Loan Fund committees. “I find committee work very familiar and comfortable but the borough council meetings are an arena where I’m out of my comfort zone,” Moore admitted, “so I’m learning where to insert myself and speak up.”
Currently a nurse at Upland Country Day School, which her son and daughter attend, an inspiration for Moore’s political aspirations is her volunteer work with the Chester County Fund for Women & Girls, an advocacy and philanthropy group on whose board she sits.
“About in the last year-and-a-half since my tenure with the Fund, we started talking about increasing its work and advocacy. It had already started GirlGov [a program in which high school girls learn about civics and the workings of government], which I always thought was a really wonderful program because if you're going to get women into more positions of political power, we might as well start with high school girls.
“Then we started talking about, what else can the Fund do in terms of advocacy? It kind of just sparked a power in me to think about what could I personally be doing in my own community. Prior to joining the [CCFW&G] board. I had never really thought of myself as a leader in that way, but the experience of being on the board taught me the sort of the value that I can bring to the table and the value that my voice brings, my experiences bring and how that can shape an environment or a culture. I realized that running for borough council would be one way to continue to do that, since I had I learned that from being on the board.”
Moore’s early experiences started her on the road to human service. In 1986, when the then-Rosa Garza was 6, she, her parents and three younger sisters emigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines. They moved to Roanoke, Va. because their sponsoring aunt lived there. “My parents still live in Roanoke,” she said.
Moore eventually went to Wellesley College, where she earned her B.A. in anthropology and Spanish, and two years later, she joined the Peace Corps, serving in the Dominican Republic.
“My official role was as an economic development volunteer, so I taught small business skills such as basic bookkeeping, marketing and strategy. I also worked with USAID [United States Agency for International Development] to develop a regional tourism plan highlighting Dominican crafts and culture.
“One outcome of that was my community's first Chamber of Commerce. In between, I did what a lot of Peace Corps volunteers do: taught English and health education classes, held summer camps for the kids, and spent a lot of time with the community's housewives and elders sharing stories and the day's gossip.”
Following her two-year service, Moore worked at La Comunidad Hispana as a youth health advocate. It was during her time there when she decided to pursue a different kind of helping.
“I decided to become a nurse as a result of Joan Holliday and Peggy Harris, two nurses who were hugely influential when I worked at La Comunidad Hispana right after my Peace Corps service. I loved the combination of care and science in the job and thought it would be a career with many interesting opportunities over time.” Moore later worked as development director for The Garage Community and Youth Center and eventually got a nursing degree from West Chester University. She worked at Christiana Care’s emergency department in Newark, Del. before the job at her children’s school became available.
“My patients are really cute,” Moore said, laughing, of her charges at Upland Country Day School.
Moore’s political, volunteer and work experiences have underscored to her the importance of how she wants son Graham, 8, and daughter Penelope, 3, to view and behave in the world, and how she wants the world to view and behave toward them.
“Honestly a big, big motivation for running and also for being on the [CCFW&G] board is to have a different kind of world for my son and daughter.
“What do I want for my daughter as she is a woman of color? What can I do to a make the world more of a place for both of them but also be an example as to how women can move and be in the world? That's a big one.”
As for her son, “I want him to look at women as individuals first. I want him to see them for the qualities they bring, rather than the fact they’re females.”
In light of the #MeToo movement, Moore also wants her children to understand that “no means no,” and when Penny says no “she can expect someone to stop immediately. When someone says no to [Graham], he also needs to stop what he’s doing.”
“I want them both to move in a world where both of their voices have equal power or equal potential power, but they have to use them.”
Contact Natalie Smith at natalie@DoubleSMedia.com