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Photo courtesy of Entrenuity

August 8, 2022

Jermaine Lawrence Anderson ’04 is the executive director of I Am A Gentleman, a nonprofit youth mentorship and leadership program for young people ages 13 to 21 who are from under-resourced communities in the city. Jermaine started a graphic design business in grade school and regularly shared his story as a public speaker before forming the nonprofit.

“I was that kid who would not go on the playground at recess. I’d be on the computer making things like greeting card designs and coffee mug designs, and selling those things at school and in the neighborhood,” Jermaine said.

Jermaine grew up in Austin, graduated from Steinmetz College Prep and Dominican University, and now lives in Bronzeville.

“I’m a product of Chicago Public Schools and really wanted to make sure I was a model to other young men to let them know they can achieve despite difficult and unique circumstances,” he said.

I Am A Gentleman recently kicked off a 30-day back-to-school haircut drive offered at the storefront headquarters. About 250 haircuts will be given over the next four weeks — with appointments available on the organization’s website.

“The reason we do this is because we want young men, especially from urban neighborhoods, to look good but also to feel good as they return to the classroom, because we believe that it will help them have a successful school year,” said Jermaine.

Read more: Back-to-school haircuts offered by South Side nonprofit get students ready to return to class