Parkwest Barber School gives back to the community

By Isha Jackson

Students and faculty at Parkwest Barber School learn the trade while having a good time. Pictured left to right are: Darmarris Terry, Corey Bell, Carlos Suggs, Derrick Bronson, Kelron Williams and Ikeem Walker. (Staff photo by Aaron Saunders)

NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

Parkwest Barber School may look like a place where young men and some women are learning to cut hair, but the founders had a much broader purpose in mind when they started the school in 2006.

People entering the school, located on East Main Street in Northeast Central Durham, are greeted with smiles by students who are ready to fulfill any barbering service you request. The services range from $1 to $10 and all ages and genders are welcomed.

“A lot of Parkwest’s clientele is children. Mothers bring their kids and get them cut on Saturday,” says Bell. “The neighborhood, elderly, disabled, people that are in a rush in downtown Durham, you don’t have to wait at the barber school [because] we have so many chairs. If you are in a rush you come in — get a haircut– then you’re out of the door right away.”

But Timothy McIntosh also opened Parkwest Barber School as a way to give back to the community through The Barber Foundation, which serves as the charitable limb of the school and helps build partnerships and develop service projects for students at the school.

He is a member of the Next Generation of African American Philanthropists, or NGAAP, a giving circle whose members pool their time, know-how and funds and make grants to African-American-led nonprofits making a difference in the community.

McIntosh’s Partner, Corey Bell had similar goals when he began his barber school, Daydreamers Academy in 2004. The two were good friends already, so merging their schools was a natural evolution.

Kelron Williams watches as Ikeem Walker practices on co-owner Corey Bell. (Staff photo by Aaron Saunders.

About a month after Parkwest opened, Bell relocated his furniture, services and students to Parkwest. Over 100 students attend Parkwest. The students are mostly 18-27 years old, African American males, who don’t have much education after high school, but most likely already knew how to cut hair. Parkwest helps them obtain a license.

Daydreamers has now been transformed into a nonprofit sector of Parkwest. It is basically used to help fund and get grants for people who want to go to barber school.

Parkwest also gives away free services for different events such as pep rallies, organization rallies and fundraisers.

“We both have similar outlooks in terms of wanting to make a difference in the barbering industry. That’s why we wanted to open up a school so we could give the students a good foundation before they get out there,” says McIntosh. “We give the students a good understanding in theory of barbering and they also learn how to work the business and have the necessary tools to be successful.”

The length of the program is 10 months for the day program, and 15 months for the evening program comprising 1528 clock hours.

The program is designed to give the student a strong foundation of the history and theory, and the business of the profession while gaining the practical proficiencies and skills necessary to be a successful barber.

The two agree that NECD is a good place to put a business.

“You want to be located near an accessible road. Highway 147 — you know people coming from Greensboro, Raleigh, and different parts of Durham, they can just get in and get out you don’t want to do a lot of city driving coming from outside of the city to go to a school,” says Bell. “It’s located near two universities, Central and Duke, and Durham Tech is down the street.”
“You love helping that influx of new students and the surrounding neighborhood coming in that doesn’t really know where to get a haircut and they don’t have a lot of money. They come to the school and enroll or just get good service for just five dollars,” says Bell.

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