'Honor and a privilege': Hometown barbershops offer free haircuts, reading opportunities for kids

NOW: ’Honor and a privilege’: Hometown barbershops offer free haircuts, reading opportunities for kids

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Two hometown barbershops are turning into libraries, helping kids get into reading while getting a fresh cut and heading back to school.

The Barbershop Books initiative is a national program that is now present inside Milwaukee's 2 Kings Barbershop on W. Fond Du Lac Ave., and P's Classic Kutz on N. Teutonia Ave., thanks to a partnership with the Milwaukee Office of Early Childhood Initiatives.

"Eighty-two-percent of Black boys are not reading on grade level by fourth grade, and that goes on to have detrimental outcomes for our community," said Dea Wright, director of the OECI. "This is really all about helping to do our part to close the achievement gap, especially when it comes to Black boys."

A reading center can be found in the waiting area at P's Classic Kutz, filled with different books that are culture and age appropriate. Wright says not only can the kids pick up a book and enjoy a good read, they can enjoy good conversation with a trusted mentor in the community cutting their hair.

"We have a great group of barbers here, starting with the owner, who are willing and ready to do their part. To talk with the children while they are getting their haircuts," Wright said. "They did not take this on as a chore. They took it on as a part of their responsibility to give back to the community while they're cutting hair."

Rob Evans is a father of four young boys. As one of the barbers participating in the program, he's grateful to see steps being taken to help better children in the community.

"The small moments that we get with children are priceless," Evans said. "Seeing them come in and talk about their dreams and to see them fulfill their dreams to go on to high school and college and so on, it's such a blessing to see kids come in hungry, wanting to better themselves, wanting better things for their community, and most importantly, a better life for themselves. It's an honor and a privilege."

Free haircuts will be available every Tuesday from 3-6 p.m. throughout the month of September for kids ages 1-8.

Families can call 414-286-KIDS or click here for more information.

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