LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In a church basement in the Chickasaw neighborhood, Tod Moore is building what he believes will change the lives of young people in west Louisville.
Dream Center Academy (DCA) Christian School opened last January. It's a private Christian school, aimed at change for the students Moore says need it the most.
"In dire need of breaking the cycle and changing the culture. And helping our kids not to continue to have one foot in the graveyard and one foot in the prison yard,” he said.
Moore knows the impact of violence on the community well. He started his first ministry while in prison.
Two years later, now back in his community, he said he felt called to a new mission.
"Education is the gamechanger. Education is the way,” Moore said.
DCA opened in 2021, and now serves a couple dozen kids. It operates on a needs-based tuition system, to make it accessible to families.
Wanting to expand beyond the basement of New Covenant Baptist, Moore has now started a $8 million dollar capital campaign to build a brand new school, able to serve hundreds of students.
"They've been given hand me downs their entire lives,” he said. “All their lives they've been given someone else's' junk. Christ told me he wants them to have the best.”
In his students, Moore sees a community of kids growing up like he did. That’s why he said the school expects the best of its pupils.
Through DCA, and its planned expansion, he wants to shepherd them in a new direction.
"You deal with a lot of kids that are told where they can't go, what they can't do what they can't be,” he said. “Our children are quickly learning that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Moore said he’s been encouraged by the support for DCA so far. He’s hopeful the community can see what the school has accomplished.
"If you empower them to be the greatest they can be, they're not only going to teach one, they're going to teach 1,000,” he said.
Moore’s goal is to open satellite campuses in other neighborhoods while the new school is being built, which would remain open after. He believes it's important to keep kids close to their communities.
For Moore, what they’ve created so far, is a dream come true.
"Building better lives, building better homes, building a better community,” he said of the mission.
As the school expands, Moore said they’re also in need of teachers.
He encourages any interested parents or students to come take a tour.