It all began with a pair of eyeglasses. “I noticed Christian was sitting by himself, so I walked over, mentioned I had recently started wearing glasses and said I liked his,” said Al Moore, a member of Regions Bank’s investment services team, recalling the day he met Christian Pace. Across the room, Pace’s mother, Kristen Green, intently watched the moment unfold. “I could tell Christian and Al were having a deep conversation,” said Green. “It looked like they already knew each other very well.”
Moore and Pace are both members of the Little Rock, Arkansas chapter of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. This nonprofit is dedicated to educating and empowering African-American children and teens through mentorship and leadership programs across nearly 100 chapters nationwide.
“Our youth in Little Rock face challenges,” said Moore. “I grew up in a two-parent household with a military dad. I realize how big of an influence it had on me and how lucky I was. The difference is I had that.”
Pace and Moore hold each other accountable. Moore has helped Pace improve his organizational skills, and Pace checks in with Moore about what’s happening in his life. Sometimes, the conversation turns to employment. Moore is encouraging Pace to explore careers related to his automotive passion.
“People will say it’s the mentor shaping the mentee, but it’s really the mentee shaping the mentor,” said Moore. “Christian has helped me grow more than I’ve helped him. He opened up new pathways for me; he’s made me more empathetic and sympathetic. It’s been an evolution that’s helped make me a man.”
For Moore, a self-admitted introvert, walking across that room wasn’t something he typically would’ve done. The day they met, he felt prompted to take that step. It started with those eyeglasses. A pair that did more than improve Christian Pace’s vision. Ultimately, they helped him see his potential, too.