Luncheon Co-Chairs Jennifer Bishop and Marisa O’Sullivan have just announced that the fundraising luncheon along with a silent auction will take place on Friday, April 29, at the Omni Dallas Hotel.
And, yes, the speaker will be a janitor… at least, a former janitor — Caylin [pronounced Ky-Lin] Moore. But being a janitor is just one of the items on his profile. He is the son of a convicted murderer and a sexual abuse victim. Doesn’t sound like a very promising start, but Caylin literally pushed up to overcome the challenges in his life.
It didn’t start out that way. His childhood started out in California living in a five-bath, four-bedroom house with seven vehicles. As his mother Calynn Taylor-Moore told ESPN Senior Writer Adam Rittenberg, “We had what looked like the Cosby life. It was like a Monet: From a distance, it looks beautiful, but up close, it’s all messed up.”
The messed-up part was Caylin’s father’s abuse of the family. Mother Taylor-Moore and the children escaped to her mother’s home and filed for divorce. When the judge in the divorce proceedings asked the father to identify his wife, he replied, “I wouldn’t identify that b—- until she has a hole in her head.”
In addition to the father’s ongoing threats, this change of lifestyle would be a major turning point to test the mother and son. She would face major struggles and additional sexual assaults but would go on to earn a law degree and a master’s in clinical psychology and theology.
As for the boy, whose family was now reduced to living in a crime-ridden area of Compton south of Los Angeles with barely enough to eat, he could have easily taken up with a gang and learned the ways of the ‘hood. To stave off hunger, he would do literal push ups.
But football wasn’t going to be the cure-all. Caylin figured out that sports and education were the magic ingredients to success. In 2008 he decided that his role model would be Florida State safety Myron Rolle, who had been the first major football player to earn a Rhodes Scholarship in 25 years.
When applying for college, Caylin’s honor roll grades and achievements on the playing field resulted in his being accepted by 19 of the 25 colleges he applied to. And it seemed to only get better. While at Marist College in New York, he was named a Fulbright Scholar and studied in England.
But Caylin’s plans came to a screeching hault in 2014 due to a back injury before the college’s first game of the season. In need of money and back surgery, Caylin finished the year at Marist doing janitorial work.
Still, he wasn’t giving up on his game plan. This was just a setback. Thanks to submitting a workout tape to various schools, he ended up in North Texas at TCU, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in economics and impressed Jacinto Ramos, who was teaching a class on juvenile delinquency.
It was about this time that Caylin started TCU SPARK (Strong Players Are Reaching Kids), which featured athletes helping to inspire kids.
ESPN Senior Writer Adam Rittenberg wrote that Caylin had lived up to his role model’s goal. He became a Rhodes Scholar, earning a master of science in Latin American Studies at the University of Oxford in 2019.
It was also during his time at TCU that he met his future wife, Paola Miranda, who was on the track and field team with the dream of being an Olympian representing her native Paraguay.
Today Caylin is not only a doctoral student at Stanford University and a Ford Foundation Fellow, he is the author of “A Dream Too Big: The Story Of An Improbable Journey From Compton To Oxford” that has been featured by Good Morning America, Sirius XM Radio, ABC News, NBC LA, Home and Family, Hallmark Channel, and The 700 Club, among other media outlets.
Caylin’s story that includes much more trauma and drama is one that truly resonates for the mission of Rainbow Days’ young clients, who are in need of role models like Caylin.
As his high school football coach James Durk said in an interview with Fox Sports’ Sam Gardner, “You always want to use him as an example because these kids can relate. ‘Come on man, he has dreads, he looks just like you. He looks like your cousin, looks like so-and-so.’ But guess what? He’s got himself together. He’s ready to move forward. He does the right things and when you do the right things, the right things happen for you.”
Sponsorships and tickets for the luncheon are available here.
* Graphic/photo provided by Rainbow Days