‘It’s all about giving back’: TruFades Barbershop partners with nonprofit to give ‘Community Cuts’ in Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A Richmond barbershop is paying it forward to people who have fallen on hard times by collaborating with a non-profit to offer free haircuts, meals, and other resources on Tuesdays twice a month.
When Master Barber Perry Lee, who also co-owns TruFades Haircuts and Beards Barbershop in Shockoe Bottom, launched an apprenticeship program at the shop last month, he wanted to take the opportunity a step further.
“It’s all about giving back. Giving back to both, not just the community, but giving back to people that want to focus on the craft,” said Lee, who is passionate about helping others develop the skills they need for a better future. “I like seeing the growth; that’s the beautiful part about it.”
On Tuesdays, twice a month, Lee and his team, including the barbers in training, pack up their supplies and set up shop at 420 West Broad Street, the new home of non-profit Nurturing Minds, which offers free programs that empower youth and their families.
Ticeses Teasley is the founder and saw a special need for youth to find alternative ways to combat depression, anxiety and trauma through programs like “Therapy Undefeated.”
Through the Trufades Apprenticeship Program, aspiring barbers like Day’Shaun Smith have a chance to learn the skill and pay it forward one snip, buzz and trim at a time. Smith said it means the world because he has never had the kind of support to chase his dream – until now.
“They saw me and took me under their wing,” said Smith, who looks up to Lee as his role model. “I cut hair because I want to show people my age that there’s a different way out; you don’t got to go out here and do nothing crazy.”
Angelos Vaziouracis is also an apprentice who has a few years of training under his belt. He to said this program is changing his life.
“TruFades has been a blessing,” said Vaziouracis, who says it feels good to pay it forward while bettering his own life. “Sometimes life isn’t always positive, but if you push forward and just do the next right thing, good things will come to you.”
Together, Teasley, Lee and the TruFades family put their heads together to host free “community cuts” twice a month - on the first and third Tuesdays - for the homeless and members of underserved communities.
Walk-ins are welcome between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis. While there, customers not only get free haircuts but a free hygiene kit, at-home COVID tests and a warm meal. Under Lee’s supervision, the apprentices do the cuts.
These services mean a lot for people like Kvon Johnson, who has been living in and out of shelters for the last six months. He lost his mother early in the pandemic to a COVID-related illness. Since that tragic loss, he has battled depression and addiction but said he is working hard to get back on his feet.
“Ain’t no nation like a donation. It’s a free haircut, free food and hygiene stuff - it goes a long way,” said Johnson, who was grateful for the service. “God loves us all, so I know he’s going to take care of me.”
“He [God] accommodates all things, and I believe he accommodated this too,” Johnson said.
Lee, who lost his younger brother a few months before launching the apprenticeship program and collaborating with Nurturing Minds, said his brother would be proud.
“He was my heart,” Lee said. “Ever since then [losing his brother], it’s been all go-mode.”
“They say if you don’t have something to live for, find something to die for,” Lee said.
TruFades is located at 2010 East Main Street Suite C, Richmond, VA 23223 in the Masonry Apartments, but operates out of Nurturing Minds’ facility at 420 West Broad Street Richmond, VA 23220 twice a month for the event.
The free events in April will be held Tuesday, April 5 and April 19.
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