UNCG will host the first annual Barbershop Talk Conference addressing issues of youth education and health on Monday, June 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UNCG’s Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness.
The event features a variety of engaging speakers – including Wake Forest professor and former television host Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry and world boxing champion Riddick Bowe – as well as workshops, sports clinics, health screenings and a barbers’ panel.
Offered free to elementary, middle and high school students and their families, the conference is an opportunity for the university and community to come together in order to help local families support their children’s success in education and health.
“We want to provide a format that is welcoming and fun and can serve the purpose of helping youth start their summer off on the right track,” said Dr. Tanya M. Coakley, professor of social work at UNCG and organizer of the event along with UNCG’s Dr. James Wyatt, Dr. Joe Green, Dr. Bryan Terry and Dr. Jeffrey Shears. “Our goal is to provide resources that empower parents to play a strong role in their children’s lives.”
The conference serves as an extension of Coakley’s current research project, which investigates how barbershops can help foster better communication between fathers and sons in the African-American community. The project is funded by a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant.
Coakley’s vision is to create the same kind of comfortable “barbershop environment” at the conference so that families can talk openly about important issues. While her current research focuses on men and sexual health, the conference is designed for boys, girls and their families and covers a broad range of topics related to education and health.
The event is sponsored by the UNCG Office of Enrollment Management, the Department of Social Work, the School of Health and Human Sciences and the Ethel Martus Lawther Fund Lecture Series. A free lunch will be provided to participants.