TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Barber students at a technical training school in Florida gave free haircuts to kids in need on Thursday.
The future barbers from Lively Technical College helped more than 30 children at Oak Ridge Elementary School get a confidence boost from the experience.
Instructor Jason Belcher said the situation is a win-win.
"The students at Lively are getting experience through repetition, and the children at the elementary school, whose parents may not have the resources, get a haircut," Belcher said.
For the past five years, his students have been volunteering at different schools around the Big Bend area to give free haircuts.
"Believe it or not, every child doesn't have the opportunity to get a haircut," Belcher said.
COVID-19 limited the number of participants, but typically more than 60 students are treated a session, including some faculty and parents.
The principal of the elementary school, Jasmine Smith, said helping give kids a confidence boost will help them succeed.
"When you feel good about how you look, it makes a difference in the way that you carry yourself and all those things are really factors that play in how well children do in school," Smith said.
Sitting in the barber's chair is about more than just looking good, but also making connections.
The Oak Ridge students get the chance to connect with aspiring barbers like Shantell Johnson, a female in a male-dominated industry.
"We're making them believers, so that the guys can see, 'Hey, girls are cutting hair just as good as these guys are out here,' so I'm here to make a statement," Johnson said. "We shouldn't be afraid to be a barber. If you're a female and that's what you want to do in life, go for it."
For some of these kids, this unique conversation can only be found in a barber's chair.
"Some of these kids, you don't know their background or if their moms can afford to take them to the barber once or twice a month," Johnson said.
The student barbers will be at Sabal Palm Elementary School next and say they are always looking for ways to help give more people haircuts.
More information about Lively Technical College's Barber Program can be found by clicking here.
This story was originally published by Veronika Vernachio at WTXL.