Elgin-area barbershops offer free back-to-school haircuts for students in need

  • Wilbur Dumas, Jr., 39, of Elgin, left, cuts the hair of Jose Gomez. Dumas' Lincoln Avenue Barbershop and other local barbershops will provide free back-to-school haircuts to students in need Aug. 14.

    Wilbur Dumas, Jr., 39, of Elgin, left, cuts the hair of Jose Gomez. Dumas' Lincoln Avenue Barbershop and other local barbershops will provide free back-to-school haircuts to students in need Aug. 14. Courtesy of Wilbur Dumas

  • Wilbur Dumas

    Wilbur Dumas

  • Corey Dixon

    Corey Dixon

  • Isabel Perez, 12, of Elgin picks up a free backpack loaded with school supplies during last year's drive-through Back-to-School BBQ Bash at Wing Park. This year's backpack giveaway is moving indoors to the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin.

    Isabel Perez, 12, of Elgin picks up a free backpack loaded with school supplies during last year's drive-through Back-to-School BBQ Bash at Wing Park. This year's backpack giveaway is moving indoors to the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin. Daily Herald file photo, 2021

  • Little Mr. Puerto Rico Gerardo Cervantes, Jr. was given the honor of raising the Puerto Rican flag this weekend during the 50th annual Puerto Rican Heritage festivities in Aurora.

    Little Mr. Puerto Rico Gerardo Cervantes, Jr. was given the honor of raising the Puerto Rican flag this weekend during the 50th annual Puerto Rican Heritage festivities in Aurora. Courtesy of City of Aurora

  • Little Mr. Puerto Rico Gerardo Cervantes, Jr. and Little Miss Puerto Rico Gianna Loft raised the Puerto Rican flag this weekend during the 50th annual Puerto Rican Heritage festivities in Aurora.

    Little Mr. Puerto Rico Gerardo Cervantes, Jr. and Little Miss Puerto Rico Gianna Loft raised the Puerto Rican flag this weekend during the 50th annual Puerto Rican Heritage festivities in Aurora. Courtesy of City of Aurora

  • Board members of the Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council celebrate during the annual flag raising ceremony this weekend. In the center are photos of two board members -- Orlando Rivera and Ana Elba Rivera -- who died since the last ceremony and festival were held in 2019.

    Board members of the Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council celebrate during the annual flag raising ceremony this weekend. In the center are photos of two board members -- Orlando Rivera and Ana Elba Rivera -- who died since the last ceremony and festival were held in 2019. Courtesy of City of Aurora

  • Community members celebrated the 50th annual Puerto Rican flag raising ceremony and heritage festival in Aurora this weekend.

    Community members celebrated the 50th annual Puerto Rican flag raising ceremony and heritage festival in Aurora this weekend. Courtesy of City of Aurora

  • Deaf Welcome Studios founder Theressa Dubois was joined by Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, other elected officials, and community members for the business' grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday in Aurora's Fox Valley Mall.

    Deaf Welcome Studios founder Theressa Dubois was joined by Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, other elected officials, and community members for the business' grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday in Aurora's Fox Valley Mall. Courtesy of City of Aurora

 
 
Updated 8/1/2022 6:23 AM

For the second year, several Elgin-area barbershops will provide free haircuts for students in need on Aug. 14 before they head back to school.

Haircuts and hairdos will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin, 355 Dundee Ave., Elgin. It is open to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

 

Wilbur Dumas Jr., who opened Lincoln Avenue Barbershop in Elgin five years ago because he wanted to give back to the community, is leading the effort. Dumas, 39, of Elgin, is a product of the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin and a graduate of Larkin High School in Elgin.

"We got about 20 barbers," Dumas said. "We're accommodating the Elgin-area Boys and Girls Club youth and anybody that ... can't afford haircuts."

At last year's event, Dumas and fellow barbers provided 42 free haircuts. Attendance was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This year is going to be much bigger," Dumas said. "Families are looking forward to this. I want this to get bigger and bigger every year. You look good, you feel good. That's always been my motto."

Participating businesses include Sauvage Barber Parlor in South Elgin, Fade Stars Barbershop in Elgin, In The Cuts Hair Studio in Elgin, Tapered Edges in West Dundee, and Bea's Touch of Style in Elgin.

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Free school supplies

Dumas is coordinating the hair cutting with Elgin's annual backpack giveaway organized by Elgin City Council member Corey Dixon.

It's the fifth year for the backpack giveaway, which will provide free school supplies to students from low-income families from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 14, said Dixon, a childhood friend of Dumas.

Dixon said COVID threw a major curveball into his back-to-school barbecue bash usually held at Wing Park in Elgin. This year, the giveaway is moving indoors to the Boys and Girls Club.

"We are still going to provide backpacks, school supplies and food to families," he said. "We plan on giving away at least 100 (backpacks)."

There also will be social service agencies providing tax preparation and financial management consulting to families.

Dixon said he wanted to focus more on the hair cutting and styling portion of the event this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It is targeted at whoever needs it. It doesn't matter if you're Black, brown, white, Hispanic, Asian. We have people who can cut anyone's hair," Dixon said. "We are partnering with Black-owned and Hispanic-owned businesses."

Puerto Rican festival

Festivities for Aurora's Puerto Rican Heritage Week concluded Sunday with the 50th annual Puerto Rican Heritage Festival in downtown.

The event was organized by the city of Aurora and the Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council, which was founded in 1972 as the Aurora Puerto Rican Parade Committee. The group hosted the city's first Puerto Rican Parade 50 years ago.

Muslim report

The latest "Illinois Muslims Report," detailing the community's demographics, assets and needs, was released last week.

Illinois is home to the largest per capita Muslim population in the nation that also is young and diverse racially, ethnically, and politically. Thousands of Illinois Muslims completed surveys, participated in focus groups and shared input providing insight into their communities. Here are select findings from the report:

•Politically, 58% of those surveyed identify as Democratic, and 38% identify as independent.

•Participants reported barriers to affordable, culturally appropriate mental health services. Muslims were less likely than the general public to seek out therapy services (13% versus 24%) despite suffering from mental illness symptoms at the same rate as the general population (47% and 51%, respectively).

•Roughly one-third (35%) of respondents reported mental health symptoms but did not seek treatment because the cost was a barrier.

•63% of Muslims surveyed were married; 29% care for elderly relatives.

•Survey participants reported a need for more responsive Muslim sacred spaces that take their opinions into consideration.

•75% of Muslims surveyed are registered to vote, with an additional 16% expressing an intention to register.

•23% volunteered for a political campaign in the past 12 months, compared to 17% of the general public.

Researchers from the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition, University of Illinois and Institute of Social Policy and Understanding have been working on the project for three years.

To review the full report, visit ispu.org/illinois-muslims-report-1/.

Deaf services

A new business focused on people with hearing disabilities opened this weekend in Aurora's Fox Valley Mall.

Deaf Welcome Studios founder Theressa Dubois was joined by Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, other elected officials and community members for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday.

The business, located on the lower level of the mall, is dedicated to bridging the gap between deaf culture and the hearing world. It trains and provides sign language professionals for the television, media, music, ministry, and film industries who can help with deaf-inclusive meetings, broadcasts, distance-learning sessions, schools and churches, among other groups.

The facility has a state-of-the-art studio that can livestream on multiple platforms and accommodate a live studio audience.

• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com.

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