Local barbershop holds back-to-school event to build community relationships

- Businessman Jorge Maldonado is trying to remind his community of an old saying that he says we still need.

“The old saying says it takes a village to raise a child and we’ve lost that and I want us to get a hold of that again.”

School’s just about back in session so to the kids that means school supplies and fresh haircuts but for Jorge and others there are bigger concerns about what type of world they’re sending their children into.

“Everything going on in the world and our country there’s a lot of separation, people are moving away and picking their own cliques and there’s a lot of tension in the country.”

Pretty much anywhere in the United States most people know if you want to reach the community or get information out, particularly in inner cities there's at least one place you can normally count on the barbershop.

Jorge Maldonado is the owner of Barberados Barbering Lounge in Camden, New Jersey. Every year he gives back to the community but he didn’t just want to give some things away so kids would have more, he told us he wants to try to improve relationships so they can be more.

“Its our responsibility to teach the kids that are going to be the future,  the importance of every role in the community.”

Today at his back to school community event There was the obvious fun of face painting and giveaways, but more important was interacting with the fire department, community mentors and in inner city Camden, the police.

Officer Omari Clark was there because he recognizes the significance of reaching out to the community.

“They get to see us on the brighter days, they get to be able to approach us and see that these guys are just like us.”

With the tension in some neighborhoods that both the community and police admitted, this event was another excuse for kids to have positive interaction with officers that they may have previously only seen in less enjoyable situations, an opportunity the Camden County Police Department appreciated.

“We can engage the community, the community can engage us.  It’s a big thing to know that the police is actually there for you, not to scare you.”

Everyone there understood that haircuts and handshakes wasn’t going to completely change a community but showing the importance to children of giving back and getting to know your neighborhood may change one life and today that was a start,  for goodness sake. 


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