Pickens Technical College’s Barber Pathway: Examples of How Haircuts Change Lives
Probably the most important lesson you’ll learn in Pickens Technical College’s Barber program is the importance of the work. Many people think of haircuts as afterthoughts, a chore to tick off every couple weeks. But, as you know or will know soon, a simple haircut can go a long way, especially for those who don’t have easy access to these basic grooming services.
There are examples of barbers and barber programs all over the country helping their community by offering their services not only to the public at large but to disadvantaged folks as well.
Pickens’s Barber program provides a safe space where people can get excellent deals on their next haircut at their full-service salon right on campus. It’s a place where people can gather and get the look they want, while the barber students hone their talent. If you participate in the on-campus barbershop or find yourself in an internship at a local salon, you’ll have the opportunity to help people in a real way.
Here are a few examples of barbers across the United States helping their communities in profound ways.
Many barber programs are doing outreach programs in their communities. In Wilmington, North Carolina, Cape Fear Community College is offering free back-to-school haircuts for school-aged children.
A program like this is crucial for kids, especially in disadvantaged areas, to gain some confidence before the school year starts and enter their next grade not worrying about their appearance. As we all know from our time in school, clothes, grooming, and appearance issues can be very distracting, and in some cases, they can lead to total discouragement in showing up at school every day.
“Everyone wants to look their best on the first day of school,” said Deginald King, CFCC’s lead barber school instructor. “We’re glad to help and it will be wonderful practice for our students.”
The Traveling Barber
Brennon Jones, a barber in Philadelphia, has been featured in the local news because of his mission to offer haircuts to the homeless. In a partnership with the Philadelphia 14th District Police Department and community group Philadelphia United LLC, Jones travels the city in his mobile barbershop offering free cuts to anyone who needs them. He participated in an event that provided free food, entertainment, and a chance for the community to meet with police officers on their terms. The mobile barbershop is now Jones’ full-time job.
“A haircut to me is really just a plus, it’s more so about the conversation and giving them just a brand new start,” Jones said.
Haircuts and Literacy
A barbershop in Sturgis, South Dakota is paying kids to read books aloud while getting haircuts. Each child who reads a book aloud to the barbers during their haircut gets three dollars. Mark Odisher, co-owner of Haircrafters in Sturgis, started planning to launch the program next March but received a donation of $30 and several books to start with from a friend he went to church with. The program started there and has grown in popularity, to the point that Odisher plans to do a raffle with all the participants for a gift certificate to the barbershop.
Just goes to show you that a good haircut and a local barbershop can go a long way in helping the community.