It’s Back-to-School week in Houston, and in Sunnyside on Saturday, the St. James Missionary Baptist Church was all about getting community kids ready for their first day of school. Robin McAdams is the church’s Outreach Ministry Coordinator, who pulled in a few favors–and family and friends–to better prepare neighborhood students, with school supplies, healthcare information–and free haircuts. “It’s like a million-dollars for young man to come in with his hair cut, and backpack, and school supplies, because then he’s ready to learn,” McAdams says.
She should know. McAdams is also a Pre-K teacher in the Houston Independent School District, and says that first day of school can be a make-or-break experience for students.
“I see every school year, the kids that do not have the means to get school supplies, or even a simple haircut, that how their self-esteem can be on the first day,” she said.
So, enter friends and family to meet the challenge.
Anthony Ford, a cousin, is a motivational speaker and real estate agent in Houston, who gave up his Saturday to help–with good results. “We probably had about 200-kids, and we fed the families, and gave them other assistance, uh, we wanted to minister to the whole families,” said Ford.
He called his brother, Quincy, a barber.
“I cut over 50-heads of hair today,” he answered, over the buzz of electric clippers. “I’ve got people waiting for me at my shop, too. They’re calling on my cellphone, wanna know where I am.”
Quincy Ford says he typically gives about 60-haircuts on a Saturday at his business, the House of Fades Barbershop, 9034 Cullen Blvd.
In the chair next to him, a young man named Damean was just receiving the finishing touches to his back-to-school haircut from Dametric Walker, a barber and member at the church.
“I told him to cut the sides, in the back, and give me a part, and give me an edge-up,” Damean answered, when asked what his instructions to be barber had been.
Damean will be in the Fifth Grade this year at Garden Villas Elementary School. He wants to go to Westbury High School, “where my mom went,” he says, and then on to the NBA as a shooting-guard. He’s also very good at Math, and says he’s nearly ready for his first day of school. “I already got shoes, but I want a binder, I want pencils, and all that stuff that I need for school to get me ready,” he says.
This young man will be a first-class heartthrob in the fifth grade.
Hear the conversations with the barbers and organizers at St. James M.B.C.: