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Connection grows from a haircut

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Who knew that brilliance could be found at the business end of some electric hair trimmers? We know that barbers can do some extraordinary things and make it all look easy, but we didn’t know they could perhaps change lives with their handiwork — and time and wisdom.

But Nikita Lowe, a social worker at James Matthews Elementary School, had a hunch that bringing barbers into the school would be a success, and it seems she was right, based on the comments from a few of the young men who had new, snazzy haircuts to show off to the rest of the class.

“I really liked getting my haircut at the school. I got to read books and talk about what I want to be when I grow up,” said third grader King Joshua Hampton Henry. “It was so much fun. I hope they can come back.”

That’s exactly how Lowe had dialed in the day, which was helped along by eight local barbers who donated their time but also their wisdom. And from the sound of it, the barbers took away something as well.

“Listening to what they want to be when they grow up was amazing,” said barber Roosevelt Taggart of Artist and Blades.

Barber Kendrick Harris, who cuts hair at King Kutz, said he was able to observe the different personalities of the students.

“This is the perfect age to mentor the young men before it’s too late,” he said. “I really enjoyed them all, but I felt so bad to hear that some of them had never been to a barbershop.”

A side benefit to the haircut-at-school day was that the trim was free. Having to get haircuts for her two sons and her husband, well, Lowe understands the financial strain that can put on a family.

But the long-term benefit, it seemed, was the cross-connections these young men now have with someone in their community whom they can look up to and maybe even aspire to be when they grow up, not to mention that the students associated all those good vibes with reading.

The barbers and Lowe are to be commended for putting together such an unusual and inspiring event — something she calls a Mentoring, Literacy and Social Support event. Suddenly, just a trim takes on a whole new meaning.