ST PAUL, Minn. — "It's been a long time coming," said Milan Dennie, owner of King Milan's Barbershop in St. Paul.
King Milan's Barbershop sits on bustling University Avenue. Inside, there's a safe space, providing mentorship, and academic and recreational activities for neighborhood teens.
"We have our chess tables where our chess master will be down teaching the kids chess two days a week," said Dennie. "And in this room, we will have a tutor here four to five days out of the week."
Dennie says the nonprofit "It's Our Neighborhood, Inc.," works to give back to teens and kids in the community.
"Kids come in every day and kids asking for jobs, help with different things and I wasn't able to give them the help that I wanted to," said Dennie.
He says his shop was closed down for four months during the pandemic last year, which gave him more time to focus on his mentoring nonprofit.
"Our goal is to raise money, and find companies to place kids to do work," said Dennie. "And as they're working and being employed, they can get entrepreneurship through our programs."
While he says the ultimate goal is to help kids become entrepreneurs, he's looking toward his past to give kids a new outlook for their future.
"I was inspired to set up something for kids that they may not have had otherwise," said Dennie. "We worked really hard on putting this together and I believe we are ready to roll."
The organization recently hosted a back-to-school backpack giveaway at the shop. To learn more about the nonprofit organization, visit the website here.