“If I had to describe my partnership with the Arthur Ashe Institute in three words, I would say knowledgeable, joyful, and hopeful,” says Nelson Urraca, the owner of Nelson’s Barbershop. Urraca excitedly added, “Everybody was influential, the doctors, the pastors, the employees. I love them all. They created such a great relationship with me. The employees are such great representatives, they are the Institute.” Urraca shared that he has always felt well taken care of by the Institute’s employees, and hopes to continue to work with the Arthur Ashe Institute.
Nelson’s Barbershop has been open for 30 years and recently relocated from Parkside Avenue to Winthrop Street, keeping the shop accessible to the same community. Nelson’s Barbershop aims to be an engaging barbershop, where the clients are just as welcoming as the barbers. This barbershop has been partnered with the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health since 1997. Urraca says that working with the Institute has been very rewarding. “With the information that I passed down to other people to console them, I’ve been able to give hope to people with AIDS, as well as to men with prostate cancer.
”Urraca has been working with the Institute since the beginning and has witnessed change throughout the process. “In the beginning they used to give out gift bags. The clients loved them. The gift bags used to come with little items like shaving lotion, and they were well appreciated.” Urraca shared that the programs tend to get a big turnout, as the partnership has fostered an importance in the healthcare of the men in the community.
“My barbershop has a friendly atmosphere, is very family-oriented and extremely community based.” Working with the Institute to educate clients and employees, has allowed Urraca to provide the services he enjoys, and he hopes to continue providing critical health information. Urraca says, “Service amongst anything else is what I live for.”