Advocacy begins with a clean cut

By Isha Jackson
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

A distinct group of young men is making change in NorthEast Central Durham, one haircut at a time.  It’s the first student-established barber organization that works on having a positive influence on the youth in their community.

Owners of Parkwest Barber College, Corey Bell, Jr. and Tim Mcintosh pose with members of BVB after October’s graduation. (Staff photo by Aaron Saunders)

Beyond Vision Barbers is a group of local barbers who have joined together to promote the business of barbering while participating in professional-development oriented community events.

The goal is to build a reputation as a group of respectful, professional, and talented barbers who are interested in volunteering and serving underprivileged youth in NECD and the surrounding area.

The organization was established in March 2010, and so far barbers have volunteered and collaborated with institutions including John Avery Boys and Girls Club, Durham Urban Ministries, Maureen Joy Charter School, W.G. Pearson Elementary School and the Durham Rescue Mission.

The founders of the association are Jamieson Westra-Scott, Cornelius Nile, and Roy Parker, all either current students or recent graduates of Park West Barber School located on East Main Street in Durham.

“We started off as a group of students who took an extra credit assignment at the Bronner Brothers hair show in Atlanta,” said Westra-Scott, president of Beyond Vision Barber Association. “We saw other cut clubs, and the idea originated from there.  It started with wanting to travel together to shows and host our own–just be involved in the barber and cosmetology events going on. It quickly graduated to Beyond Vision Barber Association.”

After the association began, it was easy to identify the mission of the young men.  The community would be their foundation to build BVBs legacy.

“We decided we could do a lot of good in the community so we started volunteering,” said Westra-Scott.

Although BVB hasn’t sponsored any major hair shows yet, they have sponsored The Barber and Cosmetology Student Competition and the 1st Annual Back-to-School Haircuts for Kids events.

“Sometime people think that being a barber just means ‘making that money,’ but it’s more than that. That money will come, but if you’re a professional and you can get your clients to return to you that is what will make your revenue grow,” said Kevin Littlejohn, BVB member. “Being positive and successful allows the youth to note that there is a wide range of opportunities as far as a career.”

BVB founder Jamieson Westra-Scott receives a congratulatory hug from Park West Barber College co-owner, Tim McIntosh after receiving his diploma at October’s graduation. (Staff photo by Aaron Saunders)

The members of the association agree that NECD’s youth are at risk for negative influence pushed upon them by their surroundings. The black youth in NECD need positive role models to be their motivation for a positive and productive future.

“To some African American youth, barbers are looked at as role models. This observation sparked the idea of the organization as well.  We volunteer because we get a better response with the kids,” says Westra-Scott. “They can’t fully relate to a doctor right now, but every kid knows what a barber is, and every kid has been in a barber shop.”

Roy Parker, Co-Founder of BVB, added, “The youth are our best clientele, they see us in the shop then they may see us at the grocery store. We let them know we are always around, always here for them.”

The members of BVB realize that they have faced the same issues that kids in the community face.

“We can relate to them as far as making wrong choices or being locked up or anything,” said Westra-Scott.

BVB is open to any opportunities to help out the community. “If anyone needs volunteers for the community events or anyone to do career days, we are always willing,” says Parker.

The association is now is the process of running a clothing drive to collect gently used clothing for the Durham rescue mission.  They are also accepting donations for the Mission. The drive isn’t limited to clothes, gently use book bags, and toys are welcomed as well.

BVB’s ultimate goal is to preserve as well as cultivate the art and profession of barbering by promoting community involvement and ongoing professional development.

With help from the community, Beyond Vision Barber Assoc. can prosper and grow to be a major organization touching the youth in Durham and beyond.

The association hopes to branch off and become more than just the first student run barber association of NorthEast Central Durham. These young men want change for youth everywhere.

To give donations for BVB’s charitable endeavors or for information on how to become a member please contact: