Winston-Salem man uses auto body shop to mentor at-risk youth

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A man in Winston-Salem is using his trade skills to give back to the community by helping people turn mistakes into opportunities.

For the last 15 years, David Moore has been mentoring the incarcerated and at-risk youth in his auto body shop. 

“Meeting Mr. Moore was like a field trip. I could use my hands, and he just pretty much let me go. You know, it wasn’t ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that.’ It was, ‘Go out there and see what you can do,’ so it was more like a test,” said Romi White, owner of Romi White Auto Repair.

Moore founded Southside Rides Foundation to help people, who, because of their past, have few other options. 

“Mr. Moore gave me a chance. He didn’t judge me for my background. I don’t think anybody should judge anybody, but just give them a chance,” said White.

On Friday, he celebrated four of his mentees’ success with a $1,000 grant. 

All four are proud business owners with body shops across the city.

“I did not ever think it, no. I did not. So, it feels good every day I wake up knowing I got to go to my own shop now,” said Sidney Reynolds, owner of 2Cheap-Customz. 

“Without that resource, I feel like my future would not be where it is now. I would have not been able to give back and help others and employ over 20 people in the time that I’ve been doing this. Without that opportunity none of that would exist,” said White. 

Moore says growth starts with being brave enough to try on your own.

“I have kids. I have grandkids. If they leave the house, I want to make sure they safe so what do I do about that? I provide opportunities for everybody to want to do it right,” said Moore. 

Moore says local dealerships have hired over 200 people who went through his program and around 30 have opened their own businesses.