Introduction to Auto Body Repair

For some, the idea of a four-hour class is enough to make the brain hurt. For the Intro to Auto Body students at Southside Rides, however, four hours is scarcely enough time to fuel their passion for cars.

Every Tuesday and Thursday night from 6-10 PM, thirteen young men arrive at the shop ready to work. However, 6 is more of a suggestion, as guys come rolling in every so often all the way until 7 and Dave Moore has no problem with that. He’s just happy to see his students so excited about something.

“The guys are so used to quitting.  It we keep them engaged, then they’ll do what they can to take the next step”, says Moore.

Intro to Auto Body is one of two classes taught at Southside Rides geared towards the at-risk youth of Winston-Salem. The other is a classroom lecture on Human Resource Development, taught by former teacher Milton Kennedy.  Students who complete the nine-week hands-on course receive a certificate upon completion.

While there is a fee of $210 for the auto body course, those who complete the free HRD class may be “sponsored” by donors willing to pay their fee.  Of the current thirteen students in Intro to Auto Body, six are sponsored by Forsyth Tech, three by the Winston-Salem Urban League, and two by Mr. Moore himself, out of pocket.

Over the course of the nine weeks, each student will have their own “project”; in most cases, students use their very own cars.  The assignment: transform the project into something beautiful.

“See that fresh looking ride out front?” says student ‘D’ Coles, nodding towards a freshly painted orange and white Dodge with brand new rims.  “That’s my goal.”

It is through their individual work on their projects that students are able to develop hands-on the auto body skills they learn from Mr. Moore.  At the most recent night class, some guys were in the garage long before others, buffing and rebuffing.  Others, however, have already moved forward with candy paint jobs and custom detailing.  All the while, Moore buzzes around, dropping lines of wisdom and useful tips to the eager students.  For the most part, however, the course lives up to its “hands on” name, and as a result, the students take enormous pride in their work.

Having come from a similar a background as many of his students, Moore recognizes the significance of the impact of Southside Rides on his neighborhood.

“Me being on the other side for so long, I know the recipe for what they need,” he says.

It’s clear that Dave Moore shouldn’t stop following that recipe any time soon.

-- Will Hank