07/29/11 — 'Unity Day' to be held Saturday at Mina Weil

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'Unity Day' to be held Saturday at Mina Weil

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 29, 2011 1:46 PM

When Dawud Salaam was living in Philadelphia more than a decade ago, his son and his friends approached him wanting to make their own T-shirts.

An entrepreneur who had been making T-shirts for years, he showed the trio how to make their own. He was asked back by friends, and then friends of friends until his T-shirt and airbrushing class had grown to fill the entire second floor of the center.

The classes expanded into desktop publishing, music and basic entrepreneur skills all funded by different organizations, with Salaam, 66, utilizing his grant-writing abilities to fund the expansion until the organization was a center for those seeking to better their job outlooks by developing skills that paved the way for self-employment.

After a 12-year struggle to find a location, Salaam is ready to bring that concept to Goldsboro with the opening of The Initiative, a complex he envisions will empower citizens who would like to own their own business.

Far from a handout, Salaam said his organization will challenge attendees to better themselves through hard work and dedication.

"Do you have the energy to get of your butt and, rather than talk, to do something to change your situation?" he said. "Those who have initiative have the self drive to change their situation."

The facility will offer training programs in cosmetology, computer repair, desktop publishing, fashion design, construction, silk screening, automotive repair, culinary arts and other concentrations.

Salaam said the organization will also monitor each entrepreneur's progress following graduation, helping graduates to open and maintain their businesses.

What will set his complex apart from other similar concepts, Salaam insists, will be location. The central location for his facilities, which will be at the corner of Madison and Beech streets and on Hooks River Road, will allow for interested applicants from all over to attend classes.

As an exposition for what he has in mind, his organization is sponsoring a Community Unity Day at Mina Weil Park Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. featuring vendors, entertainment, speakers and more.

For more information, call 583-1361.