BBBS Twin Cities and H. White Men’s Room Host Mini Block Party for First-Ever Doors Open Minneapolis

May 20, 2019, Jennifer Severson

To celebrate Doors Open Minneapolis, BBBS and H. White Men’s Room co-hosted a mini block party to celebrate community mentorship! We literally (HWMR) and metaphorically (BBBS) “opened our doors” to the Minneapolis community.

BBBS shared with visitors the news of our newly purchased building in North Minneapolis. Guests previewed the design themes and shared their ideas for our new BBBS youth development hub set to open in 2020.

Doors Open attendees also learned about Houston White’s long time match through BBBS and his plans for the Camden Town neighborhood. Attendees made BBBS and BE the Change buttons, thanked their mentors at a selfie-station and learned about volunteer mentoring opportunities with BBBS.

BBBS Staff helps attendees make Be the Change buttons during the Doors Open event.

DJ J Blasé will provide music both afternoons while guests enjoyed Thirsty Whale Bakery treats and tasted the new North Minneapolis/HWMR Dogwood Coffee Company “Mixtape” coffee blend. In addition, $tarbound Ricky Collins and SoloStar performed on Saturday afternoon joined by an impromptu, courageous performance by Na’Kyla, a talented 17 year old Little who was volunteering with her Big Sister that day. 

COMMUNITY MENTORING CONVERSATION

On Saturday afternoon, community members were invited to gather in the barber shop to talk all things mentoring. Houston White, owner of HWMR, facilitated the conversation with Chanda Smith Baker from the Minneapolis Foundation and Michael Goar, CEO of BBBS. Houston also invited attendees to share their thoughts about the role of mentoring in community and how BBBS can maximize the impact of our upcoming move.

A visual representation of the importance of mentoring in our community.

This event was part of Doors Open Minneapolis, a weekend-long event that allows the public free, behind-the-scenes access to buildings in the City of Minneapolis that are architecturally, culturally, or socially significant. H. White Men’s Room – a barbershop/coffee joint/clothing store – owned by Houston White – was one of 115 venues featured throughout the city. He’s also an Alumni Little of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities program.

Hundreds of people visited HWMR over the course of the two day Doors Open event. They walked in expecting to see a barbershop and maybe have a cup of coffee. But over and over again, they told their own BBBS stories… of how nervous they were to sign up their child for a Big but how grateful they were to have that person in their child’s life… of having been a Little themselves when they were a kid (or wishing they had been)… and many visitors with fond memories of being a volunteer Big in the past.  Houston White, owner of H. White Men’s Room, a barber shop, coffee joint and retail shop invited Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities to join him during Doors Open Mpls.

From the Doors Open venue guide:
“Visit H. White Men’s Room to experience black barbershop traditions in a unique setting and learn about HWMR’s story and plans for the Camden Town neighborhood. Taste their North Minneapolis/HWMR Dogwood Coffee Co. “mixtape” coffee blend and check out the boutique featuring HWMR brands. HWMR’s goal is to immerse everyone who enters their doors into authentic urban culture.”