Our Barbershop is the anchor that started this program.
Tavares Evans, co-founder of Mark of Love, Inc. (MOL) creates an environment of love by showing up every week for the children. He currently runs a FREE BARBERSHOP in Franklin Square Elementary. Not only do chosen students receive free haircuts, there are many other elements in the barbershop that facilitate relationships through trust and love.
Each day, there is an assortment of free snacks and drinks provided to any student who knows the rule, “you just have to ask,” and to say please and thank you. Mr T uses the barber shop as weekly venue for mentoring. Young men are taught how to be gentlemen and lessons about becoming a man. The barbershop is open to young ladies as well, as many children are offered jobs of cleaning the shop every week.
The barbershop provides a TV that runs culturally and age-appropriate sitcoms and movies, enabling communication and laughter- creating a real-feel “barbershop.” Mr. T, as he is affectionately called by the students and staff, can be seen in the lunchroom, classrooms, in the hallway, before and after school as well. Teachers and administration call him their “angel.” Mr. T can change a chaotic scene to a peaceful one in moments. He has a way of showing the children “love” sometimes they don’t recognize at first. Most children who grow up in an environment of poverty do not understand the nature of a loving man.
They learn very quickly that his tone and temperament are only because he cares so much. He also provides the occasional on-time well-needed hug and “I love you,” that most children so long to hear and feel. The children know they must always strive to meet the “3 golden” goals, to be allowed in the barbershop. However, grace, mercy and forgiveness is given freely as long as the children prove they want to be better.