August 2nd, 2011
12:15 PM ET

Human Factor: Building community with a space to play

In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship –- they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed. This week Darell Hammond shares how his tough childhood led to a drive to nurture community.


I didn't have what most people would call a "typical" childhood. In 1972, when I was 19 months old, my father said he was going to unload a truck, and he never came back. My mom was left to raise eight children by herself. She tried her best, but the bills piled up, and eventually my seven brothers and sisters and I ended up in Mooseheart, a group home west of Chicago.

To be honest, until the release of my recent memoir, "KaBOOM!", I never talked much about my childhood. I knew my earlier years weren’t “typical,” but I rarely saw myself as “underprivileged” or “disadvantaged.” Mooseheart provided me  two things that I believe proved formative in my career: a strong community and lots of outdoor space for playing.


About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.