Back to School Free Hair Cuts

  • By: Lynn Lee

  • Staff Writer

Licensed barbers and hairstylists are finding ways to give back to the community by serving as mentors for young black men and women, giving hope for achievement and success in their own lives.

Mentors are showing individuals that they can achieve anything they put their mind to with hard work and dedication.

Eric Garrett, owner/operator of Beyond Expectations Barber College (BEBC), has provided young men and women ways to turn harsh life lessons into new beginnings from his barber school.

Daniel Williams is Asst. Director and Master Instructor at BEBC. He enrolled through scholarship after hearing about the opportunity through the church he attends; House of the Lord Church.

“I wanted the opportunity to be able to help somebody the way I was helped,” said Williams when asked why BEBC.

He described a sense of control and ownership of his dream from the time an individual sits in his barber chair.

“Working for yourself and being your own boss – at that point you see that you’re getting out all the hard work that you put in.”

Williams is thankful to Garrett for caring enough to create a business that reaches out to those who dare to dream. “Mr. Garrett gets a satisfaction out of seeing somebody’s life shine – without him and his caring no telling where many of us would be in our lives today.”

  1. J. Esola has taken what he’s learned at the barber college to the community by cutting hair at community events. He started out working as a fixer-upper at the barber college repairing and building before deciding that he wanted to learn to cut hair.

“It wasn’t easy for me in the beginning because of some adversity that set me back in my training, but Mr. Garret was kind enough to give me a second chance.”

“He doesn’t give up on an individual because he’s aware that many of us come from troubled pasts and will need some time to get a sight of where we are going; that’s what I like about Mr. Eric.”

And then there’s Student Instructor/Master Barber Vander Jones who came to BEBC after looking for help getting back up on his feet.

His life story is a must hear for everyone because Jones’ life found him on the streets after losing what he calls everything.

“I lost my home and my car – basically living on the streets until I found out about BEBC which became an open door.”

He continued, “I didn’t want to give up because of my 10-year old daughter…I had to show her that you don’t give up when life get’s you down; I knew I had to set an example for her.

Jones owes it to Eric and his BEBC for helping those whose lives had hit a road block. “Mr. Eric is always smiling, always has a joke to tell but most of all his willingness to never allow you to give up.”

It all comes down to the fact that Eric Garrett never forgot where he came from. He too had a troubled past but vowed to never let it get the best of him.

Garrett explained that all of this was because of individuals who reached out to support his dream. In fact, he tells about this “Tree of Life” thing that he came up with designed by local artist John Scott.

Showing a replica he explained, “The root of this tree (my business), represents my wife and kids. They are the reason behind my starting this business; they are the root,” Said Garrett.

“Then there’s Ms. Roberta who came out of retirement to help. In fact, had it not been for her, we would not have been able to graduate the first 51 students who 80% are today working in the community.”

Garrett continued, “Half these individuals graduating from my barber college would not get a fair or decent chance at a career because they are ex-felons.”

“Even better is that when these young men and women graduate, they change lives by hiring other men and women who have gone through what they have.”

Garret is eager to see this tree grow throughout the years and he’s doing all that he can to see it done. However, there are life’s challenges.

According to the instructor funding is the greatest challenge. “There is no funding available so for these students to go through this program cost $10,500.00 which is available but hard to achieve.

Garret says he hates to be critical but strongly feels the lack of care for second chance individuals. “To have these young men and women struggle to go through a program where the funding is just sitting there, shows a lack of commitment that is seriously impacting these individuals.”

Eric said he’d like to see community leaders step up more when it come to helping those who are struggling. “There’s no one carrying the banner for us that will give individuals an opportunity to change their lives.”

I hear questions about “Saturation”  – too much of one thing in a community as another potential reason for denial.

“They say perhaps there’s too may barber shops in the community but no one complains about saturation of too many bars which are killing our communities.”

He says he won’t give up and that he’ll continue to reach out to the community in every way that he can.

In fact, Garrett will soon be catering to kids with free hair cuts, as he presents his 5th annual “Back to School” Initiative of free back-packs filled with school supplies.  A few sponsors have already dropped off school supplies: Trogo Sales provided the back-packs and Zulia Development, Inc. provided school supplies with help from Emmanuel Christian Academy.

“They’ll be inflatable’s for the kids, hair competitions for the barbers, food and fun,” said Garrett.

The back to school give away will be Tuesday August 29th 8:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M. at the BEBC, 2202 Romig Rd. Call (330) 745-8288 with any questions.

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Legends Barber Shop

567 Vernon Odom Blvd. Akron, Ohio 44307 (234) 678-7277

BEBC hours of operations:

1800 hours to complete….5 days a week…..8 hours a day….. Tuesday thru Saturday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday and Sunday BEBC will be closed Our GOAL for you: To graduate from BEBC in 10 ½ months.

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