Shaping Up Our Future was created by Shahid R. Shabazz, owner of Allusions Barber and Beauty. Allusions is the backbone of the city of Petersburg, Virginia and the true definition of being “the cornerstone of the community.”
Since 2004, this cornerstone has provided resources to the children, families and schools of the Petersburg community. Allusions was most known for its annual "Kickback To School Drive" where students received free school supplies and haircuts/hairstyles for the upcoming school year. As this project grew over the years, Allusions needed the help of other barbers and stylists and the name “Shaping Up Our Future” was formed.
This name was perfect for what the barbers and stylists were doing. The barbershop continues to serve as a place where people can come to receive knowledge, talk about problems, and build social and professional relationships. Mr. Shabazz continued to grow as a community activist where his passion for helping the youth, families and schools remained steadfast.
This passion transformed into a non-profit organization, under the "Shaping Up Our Future” name. This name became the vehicle Mr. Shabazz used to reach the youth through different programs and community partnerships. Programs such as “Mentoring through Haircuts” and “Midnight Basketball” have shaped and molded the minds of young children for over a decade.
A community center was the ultimate goal for Shaping Up Our Future and Mr. Shabazz, but between a few personal reasons and the COVID-19 pandemic, the timing was delayed. During this delay, God had other plans for Mr. Shabazz. He met Linda, a woman who had the same, if not more, passion for helping the youth. She belonged to a family who has over 30 years of providing amazing childcare. Shahid and Linda eventually married and both knew that something was bubbling in the form of business and helping the youth.
Helping the youth comes in so many different ways, shapes and forms. Shahid and Linda decided to use the foundation as their platform to shape children and develop them to become great leaders and contributors to society. Mr. and Mrs. Shabazz truly believe that in order to teach a child, you have to reach a child, and they have gone above and beyond doing this work for many years. They do not care about the accolades because their work speaks for itself. Even though haircuts may not be the vehicle of the help, what has remained consistent is the love and passion for helping the youth.
Shahid and Linda have been known to be a resource to so many in the community through their personal relationships with local agencies, businesses, churches, and organizations. When developing the vision for the academy, Shahid decided to partner with his longtime customer and friend, Pastor Robert Gay. The two decided that their business paths have now crossed through their mutual passion and purpose for helping children. Pastor Gay previously created Relevant Faith Ministries, a 501c3 organization in which SUOF Academy is a branch of making it a religiously exempt organization. These two leaders are now working together to help make the vision of Shaping Up Our Future Academy a reality.
What better name to use for our facility than “Shaping Up Our Future Child Development Academy?" It describes perfectly what will be going on inside these walls on a daily basis, very experienced and passionate people shaping and transforming your child’s future.