Antioch barbers give back during the holidays

Antioch barbers

By John Crowder

On Monday, December 22, 2014, four local barbers came together at Ajja’s Barber Shop, to provide free haircuts and a Christmas gift to some of the underprivileged youth of the community.

Organized by Carl Rhodes, Director of Project 66 and former Dean of Students at RAAMP Charter Academy, the event saw about twenty local children receive a free haircut and a gift of either a football or a basketball. Family members waiting for the young boys to finish their haircuts snacked on cookies provided by the group. According to Rhodes, many of the boys were from single family homes, and with limited resources, obtaining a haircut was often considered a luxury they might otherwise have to go without.

Alex Fagalar, Sr., one of the barbers participating in the event, and the owner of Ajja’s, located at 508 W. Second Street in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown, said he had been cutting hair at his current location for five years, having first started in an apprenticeship program 25 years ago, while still in high school. He said that providing the free haircuts was a good way to give back to the community. His son, AJ, who is now his apprentice barber, and one of the four barbers participating, concurred.

Kalon James, co-owner of Ace of fades Barber Lounge in Somersville Town Center also participated in the event. James, who has been cutting hair for the last decade, said that he had heard about the event and thought it was a great way that he could use his skills to help others in a meaningful way.

Derek the Barber,’ also known as DTB, and who also works from Ajja’s Barber Shop, was the fourth participant in the haircutting event. Cutting hair since he was 12-years-old, DTB is truly an artist, with videos of his work posted on YouTube (with thousands, and in one case, over 100,000 views). He also competes in professional barber competitions.

According to Rhodes, the Christmas haircutting and gift event was not the first time these local barbers had come together to help out the community. Last August they held a similar event, at which they provided back-to-school haircuts, along with backpacks filled with school supplies. They expect to hold more such events in the future.

Rhodes also expressed his appreciation for the individuals and businesses who donated toward the back-to-school and Christmas gifts. These included Neil Case of Coldwell Banker Realty, Dr. Bob Cluff, Kobe’s Restaurant, Marcos Rodriguez of East Bay Furniture Outlet, Ryan Stewart Heating and Air, Stephanie Tran of Bagel Street Café, Togo’s, and Toys R Us.

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