photograph by Jerry Wolford & Scott Muthersbaugh

Mildred Moore is busy with her favorite activity: making houses from clothespins during arts and crafts time. This spirited woman has raised two generations of kids — whom she fondly calls her “babies” — at the Scotland Neck Education and Recreation Foundation, otherwise known as “The SNERF.” Although she spent most of her adult life in Washington, D.C., the Scotland Neck native returned to her hometown in 1997 with a vision to create “a clean, safe haven” for the community’s youth to play, get tutoring, and learn important life skills. She raised money, gathered volunteers, and even used her own handsaw to clear the trees to build the center. Today, different names and faces fill the brick building on East 11th Street, but Moore can still be found there on weekday afternoons, shaping clothespin houses and future leaders.

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Bailey Sherrill is a former Our State Spring intern and, now, freelance writer who resides in the sleepy gem town of Hiddenite, NC and works in the Queen City.