LaDarius Nelson has more in mind than teaching barber skills as the Paris native returns to his hometown to open Tru Elevation Barber and Beauty Academy in the Williamsburg Shopping Center, 1585 Clarksville St.
As a teenager who took to the streets instead of following the example of his hard-working parents, Nelson said he wants to reach out to today’s youth to let youngsters know of the opportunities available.
Nelson shared his passion at a noon meeting last week of the Paris Ministerial Alliance at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church
“I grew up in a household where I saw production, and where I saw people working every day,” Nelson said, noting, however, that he dropped out of high school in the 10th grade, went to the streets where he began selling drugs. “I got caught, of course, and I got incarcerated.”
Nelson said he spent time in state jail in Bonham, where he learned only to be a better criminal. After spending time, he returned to the streets, and at age of 19 landed in prison with hardened criminals.
“I had to go through a therapeutic program in prison where I learned different ways to overcome my negative behavior,” Nelson said. “The program was enlightening, and I got my GED in prison, got saved and baptized in prison.
“For the first time since I was 15, I heard my mother say she was proud of me,” Nelson said.
Nelson enrolled in barber school right out of prison in 2008 and began working a year later. By 2012, he had his own shop in Dallas, returned to barber school to become an instructor in 2015 and began teaching at th=e barber school he attended as a student until earlier this year when he decided to close his shop in Dallas and return to Paris.
“I came back to Paris to open the school and to really help the kids in this community to have a different mentality, to have a different sense of ability that gives them a sense of control in their lives,” Nelson said. In addition to the academy, Nelson said he plans to provide a learning center to teach basic life skills, instrumental in being successful in life.
The academy provides both part-time and full-time classes with payment plans to make the program affordable, Nelson said. A high school diploma, or its equivalent, is mandatory for enrollment, and a preenrollment interview is required. For more information, or to schedule an interview call 903-900-3334 to speak with an enrollment specialist.