“After completing trade school and not finding a job, one day, my brother asked for a haircut. I borrowed my friend’s tools and gave him a good haircut. That was in 1990 and the rest is history,” says Steven Johnson (pictured right), owner and manager of Church Avenue’s F&S Barbershop. F&S has been partnered with the Arthur Ashe Institute for roughly 16 years.
Johnson says that his favorite aspect of the partnership is helping customers become aware of their health issues. “We have had customers who did not know that they had high blood pressure. By having blood pressure tests given here through the Arthur Ashe Institute, customers were more aware of the importance of testing and knowing their numbers.”
Johnson has also received Leadership and Service plaques from the Arthur Ashe Institute that he has hanging on the wall in the shop. They serve as a reminder of the personal and community impact of the relationship between F&S Barbershop and the Arthur Ashe Institute. “The Arthur Ashe Institute has impacted me in a positive way. I have always thought about becoming more involved because I really enjoy the work this organization does for its community. I like when people my skin color are aware of certain types of information, along with educating themselves, because we usually do not have the resources and opportunities to learn about the health problems affecting us” says Johnson.
When asked about his thoughts regarding the partnership for the future Johnson replied, “Although there are other institutes that do the same thing, the Arthur Ashe Institute cannot be shut down due to improper funding. This institute continues their relationships with their partners and that means a lot. It is solely about Arthur Ashe and we as in the partners of the Arthur Ashe Institute need to continue to reach out to the community.”