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Walking through the open door

Written by Community Foundation News

The odds seemed against her. Kylie Moord and her brother were being raised by a single mom who was a teacher's aide and then worked a second job so she could provide for her children. But Kylie dreamed of going to college. "I knew early on how important that piece of paper was. My Mom, whom I admire so much, worked low-paying job. I knew I would get there though, even if I had to sit outside the classroom door."

One of Kylie's biggest assets was her athletic ability. She started playing T-ball at age four and was a star outfielder for her school's softball team. And then she met Tyrone Keys of All Sports Community Services. "Tyrone opened doors for me. I just had to walk through those doors."

The helping hand that Tyrone offered is one he has extended to hundreds of at-risk young people in the Tampa Bay area. Tyrone has a special gift for spotting talented athletes with that spark which sets winners apart. His All Sports Community Services for the all-important SAT examinations, etiquette classes and Saturday college preparatory classes at USF in conjunction with Upward aspiring athletes are mentored by Tyrone and alums from his program. In return, the young people are expected to perform regularly. He explains, "I came from a family that looked out for others. I think it is very important to teach our youth to give back to the community."

Kylie did not have to be asked twice. With the same enthusiasm with which she ran onto the softball field, she packaged food and helped distribute groceries for Metropolitan Ministries. She worked hard at school, on the field and in the community.

And then a big door opened, thanks to Jerry and Jane Williams, community leaders in the Tampa Bay area and alumni of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Jerry and Jane have a fund within the Community Foundation, and Jerry has served as Chairman of the Board. These good people gave Kylie sponsorship support so that she could attend their beloved DePauw. Former Buccaneer Trent Dilfer provided stipends for transportation. Kylie's hard work was paying off, and her dreams were becoming a reality. She was going to college!

The academics at DePauw were challenging for Kylie, but she worked hard, attending special classes to hone her writing skills and studying long hours. She even gave up sports for that first year. "I did work hard but I also had fun. I got to play in the snow for the fIrst time in my life. I met really interesting people that I still keep in touch with. College opened my mind to new ideas and expanded my vision. I am so grateful to Jane and Jerry Williams. They really care."

Today, Kylie is back in Tampa with that important DePauw diploma in hand. She is pursuing a career search and volunteering at the Special Olympics program, Joshua House and All Sports Community Service where she mentors two high school students who are dreaming about going to college.

Tyrone Keys says, "The game of life is the game you have to play." Thanks to help from Tyrone, and Jerry and Jane Williams and others, Kylie has learned the skills to play the game successfully and is giving back so that the next generation will realize its dreams.