WeFAM, Inc. is a local 501(c)(3) that, according to founder and barber Juan Williams, “builds self-esteem through grooming, etiquette, beauty, and barber services…in an attempt to mentor and motivate them to strive towards self-improvement, education, and success.”
WeFAM directs a continuous voucher program for those who cannot afford the services. To donate, visit the website, WeFAMInc.org, in exchange for donations. Vouchers for gifting are then issued. The various tiers of giving -- for all ages and genders with prices that are comparable to most barbershops and beauty salons -- come with different services:
For Boys (ages 5-18): $15 for a haircut or $30 for a haircut, a shampoo, and a scalp conditioner treatment
For Men (ages 19-65): $23 for a haircut, shampoo, and a scalp conditioner treatment or $40 for a haircut, a shampoo, a scalp conditioner treatment, and a hot towel shave
For Girls (ages 5-18): $35 for hairstyling with shampoo and scalp conditioning
For Women (ages 19-65): $60 for a shampoo, scalp conditioning plus chem. service & trim
WeFAM has helped distribute roughly 300 vouchers since its official start of May 2017; the program is always looking to expand their network, eventually (inevitably?) extending the voucher program to every single barbershop and beautician in the city. “We want the person who receives a voucher to still be able to go their regular person.” One of the participating shops is Williams’ co-owned ArtCutTechs Barbershop, Fort Wayne, IN. They started with four barbers but have just added two more stations. The multi-cultured staff and LLC are doing well.
As far as partnerships with community organizations, WeFAM has collaborated with the Shadows for Success program through the Boys and Girls Club, the formerly named IPFW University (now Purdue University Fort Wayne), and Blue Jacket and its program to assist the formerly incarcerated. WeFAM has also worked with YMCA’s Youth Service Bureau by paying for 48 barber and beauty salon services donated to local at-risk youths, with funds received from one of Fort Wayne Soup’s micro-grant dinners.
On WeFAM’s website, WeFAMInc.org, the nonprofit addresses the immediate need to eradicate low self-esteem for youths. As stated on the site, according to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, there are over 2.5 million cases of at-risk students in America. Over 19,000 have been identified in Indiana, ranking the state 34th in the nation.
The 37-year-old barbershop co-owner and nonprofit CEO Juan Williams doesn’t qualify as an at-risk youth, but he was set on the path to create WeFAM from the very low point that the nonprofit is charged to prevent at-risks from potentially reaching. Juan Williams served ten years in prison for attempted bank robbery.
Admittedly coming from a good family, Williams’ military father and civilian mother provided and were present for their son and daughter, who both graduated from private school Cornerstone Preparatory School; Juan was a Class of 1999 grad. After Williams opened Shining Sons Barbershop off of South Calhoun, bad decisions led to the idea of committing the crime.
Williams had been cutting hair on his own since around freshman year at Cornerstone and he continued to practice while incarcerated. “I saw how inmates reacted when they got their haircut, how their self-esteem level changed when they looked in the mirror,” he said, as he started about questioning his own purpose, asking God “what good can come out of this.” WeFAM, spiritually speaking, was formed that day. “A lot of people have been in a worse situation than mine and think that it’s over for them. But it’s not. God won’t apply pressure to seeds that won’t
pop, like diamonds coming out of the rough.”
Two years after his release in 2012, Williams opened his barbershop; three years after that, WeFAM became a nonprofit. “I serve an awesome God,” he said.
100% of the WeFAM donations go to the services and do not pay for any administration fees or overhead costs. A participating barber or hair stylist does donate 2.75% back to WeFAM, but those monies, again, are allotted for services only.
To contact WeFAM, Inc., hit up their website, WeFAMInc.Org or email Juan at WeFAMInc@gmail.com
WeFAM participating shops and salons include:
Jerrell’s Barbershop | Unity Barber Shop | Turn N Headz | Above Average |
Black Beard | ArtCutTechs Barbershop | Magnificent Cuts | Immakulate Cutz | Sensational Salon | Strutables Hair and Nails | Jaibee Hair Salon |
Agape Kutz N Styles | Optimistic Enterprise | Loyal Kutz | Barbers United |
I run Scrambled Egg(s) Design and Productions, based out of Northeast Indiana. In addition to producing in-house company projects, I also create advertising materials for companies and organizations, with an emphasis on interactivity.