Mentors needed for Davie boys

Published 9:19 am Thursday, July 6, 2017

By Shawan Gabriel

Special to the Enterprise

Like many reading this, I was a typical teenager who did typical teenage things: questionable and stupid, but (normally) within the law.

Before my junior year of high school, I made a poor decision that cost me the ability to attend school in my home district of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

My mistake left me with nowhere to turn. Most of my family lived inside of Mecklenburg County, which made them ineligible to help. My family that lived outside of Mecklenburg County either didn’t have the means to help me or they simply weren’t interested.

Throughout the entire ordeal I kept my good friend Rayner Moore in the loop. I had no idea he was keeping his father, coach Robert Moore, in the loop, too.

Born and raised in Asheville, Moore led all-black Atkins High School to a basketball state championship in 1968. He went on to letter in football and basketball at Virginia Union, all while acquiring a master’s degree in math. What would follow was a decorated and successful coaching career that saw him bring numerous conference championships to Virginia Union, an induction into the Hall of Fame at Virginia Union and Atkins, and retiring as the all-time winningest coach in Johnson C. Smith University history.

His son Rayner and I grew up as best friends in the Charlotte area from his time coaching at JC Smith. When my back was against the wall and I had no other outs, coach Moore asked me to live with him in Asheville.

Coach Moore had a family; he had no obligation to bring me into his home. He chose to do this because he believed in me, and he believed in giving young men hope through the experiences and resources his life had afforded him. He had been leading men into competition and battle on the court, pouring discipline into their lives and grooming them to be men in the process for years. He knew that if he didn’t help me, I was in danger of having to drop out of school and forfeit my future.

That was something he couldn’t accept. That is the heart of a mentor.

For my 11th grade year, Coach treated me like his own son. He believed in structure and doing things the right way, but he also believed in understanding process. It wasn’t enough to just get something right; he wanted to make sure you knew how you got it right so that you could repeat the process. He was on me diligently, and that was something that I needed.

As much as I appreciated him sharing his resources with me, the greatest thing Coach Moore ever did for me was making me feel like I was worth his time. He made me feel special. Everyone prefers to go where they’re celebrated over where they’re tolerated, and sometimes knowing someone else believes in you is what you need to be able to believe in yourself.

Coach Moore gave me that.

What was shaping up to be a horrible chapter in my life proved to be one of the biggest blessings I’ve ever received.

There are nine young boys here in Davie County who have the need for a man just like you to become a friend and mentor. As men, we have the power to change young boys’ lives by giving only one hour a week to share our hobbies, pastimes and interests with them. Without us, their futures are at risk.

Jacob is a responsible, kind, and well-behaved child who does great in school and lives with his grandmother. He really enjoys playing outside and learning sports. He would like to be matched with a Big Brother who likes sports, gaming, and is fun and nice.

Devon enjoys sports, family, watching TV and baking. He lives with his mother. His ideal Big Brother is a sports fanatic who is outgoing and likes to have fun.

Volunteer today at or call 336-751-9906.

This is the first in a series of articles encouraging men to become a Big Brother for Davie County boys.