Dave Moore looks to expand his helping hand in the community

Dave Moore looks to expand his helping hand in the community
December 16
13:05 2020

The work Dave Moore has done in the community has been well detailed over the past 15 years. His passion for helping formerly incarcerated men reenter the workforce through his auto body repair program is to be commended, but Moore wants to do more.

Through his Southside Rides Foundation, which he founded in 2005, Moore’s Project MOORE (Mentoring Our Own and Rejuvenating the Environment) program teaches its students the trade of auto body, along with how to be an entrepreneur.

Moore now has a property at 1321 Hardesty Lane which he plans to turn into a multifunction location. His goal is to offer young men and women ages 14-19 an opportunity to learn from a professional barber, offer mentoring for young ladies, and a music studio for aspiring musicians to record clean music. The only requirement is that they attend school and maintain good grades.

“With this music thing, it’s a lot of young kids out here and a lot of them are in gangs and other things, but they like music,” said Moore. “Yes, I have a studio, but it’s rules to the game and they will have to respect it just like anything else. I would die for this, so I just tell them to line up if they are serious about doing the right thing.

“I feel like another Tupac is going to come out of here, another New Edition is going to come from right here, we might even see another Quincy Jones, that’s just how I think. The object is to give these young men and women opportunities that they don’t really see, feel or touch. They see it on TV, but it’s not in their face like that. We have some structure behind this music thing and as hungry as these guys are to get noticed, the sky is the limit.”

The vision for his program came from his niece, said Moore. While Moore operated his mechanics shop, he was also selling drugs. After his niece was arrested for having a package delivered to her home, Moore accepted responsibility to spare his niece.  

While Moore was incarcerated, his niece died from an illness. Moore stated that his niece always wanted him to do something positive with the young men he was working with. While in prison he began to teach other inmates about the auto body trade and once released, he started his foundation to start impacting the community in a positive way.

“It was like what she told me I should be doing with the guys came into effect,” he said. “I told myself I had to switch things up and teach these dudes a trade, so they don’t have to go out there and hustle like I tried to do.

“I am trying to make my community safe, because I love my community. I have kids and I have grandkids and I want them to be safe.”

Moore says he knew even before being released from prison that his program was going to be successful. 

“Everything that I did, I had to be the best at it,” he said. “When I sold dope, I was good; when I opened my body shop, I was even better. When I got in prison, guys were coming to me to help them start their own business. So, I thought the only thing I know how to do is body work, it’s a marketable trade and I wanted to share that with them.”

While doing his auto body class in jail, Moore was approached by Forsyth Technical Community College, Davidson Community College, and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department and began teaching for those institutions.

“I broke my curriculum down while inside and they were getting all of the bookwork,” Moore said about his teaching while in prison. “They were getting life skills, job readiness, anger management skills, business planning, and learning all of the auto body tools and equipment.”

Moore says he gets such personal joy when he witnesses individuals graduate from his program and become successful in their lives.

“I felt it in my heart before I started, because I love these little dudes,” he said. “I am not faking this, it’s real. Why I am like I am, I don’t know; God made me this way. I love what I do, and I would do it even if no one would help me. Everything you go through, I think God puts you through that to get you where you’re going.

“If I hadn’t been to prison, I wouldn’t be doing this. I probably would be dead or with a life sentence or something. God told me he had bigger plans for me and to focus on that goal. When it’s good, you know you have God’s support, because it’s good.”

Moore says he doesn’t need any appreciation from the guys in his program, because that is not why he does it. He only wants to see the men succeed after deciding to change their lives for the better.

“All they have to do is stay doing what they are doing, and I will appreciate that,” he said. “Stay out the street and tell me you don’t have any charges and I am satisfied with that. No one owes me anything, because God has my gift whenever I get it. I stay spiritually grounded, but I am me.”

Nearly all of the young men who enter the program are receptive of the life lessons Moore offers them. Moore says because of the respect he earned over the years, most of the young men respect what he is attempting to do.

Moore estimates he has graduated nearly 1,000 former inmates from his program over the years and many of them have gone on to own their own businesses themselves. He recently blessed four former members of his program with $1,000 for tools and supplies for their shops.  

Dennis Davis met Moore in 2010 while incarcerated at the Forsyth Correctional Center on Cherry Street. He is a graduate of the auto body program.

“I graduated from the program and when I got out, I still do work at the shop to this day,” said Davis. “I also started my own record label, NC Money Team Records, and that’s where the idea came from to do something with the kids and music.

“He helped me understand that I can take a negative and turn it into a positive and have my own brand, my own company, and help out my community as well.”

Davis is a Winston-Salem native and says he grew up in the projects. He says it feels good to be involved with something positive after doing something negative.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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