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Free haircut program provides mentorship to at-risk youth

“T(hair)apy Cuts Mentoring” program.
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Posted at 11:33 PM, May 31, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — A new partnership is bringing the barbershop right to young people on Indy’s far east side. It's providing more than free haircuts to those at risk of violence through a “T(hair)apy Cuts Mentoring” program.

For so many young men, a new a haircut can make all the difference.

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“T(hair)apy Cuts Mentoring” program.

“It feels good, it’s boosting your confidence,” said Kameron Byrd.

For the 23-year-old, sitting in the barber’s chair means he’ll walk away with more than a fresh fade.

“I learn something new every day when I go. It’s not just one thing, getting my haircut, it’s actually more things. Some barbers can be good mentors,” he said.

Historically, the barbershop has always played a significant role in the community.

“It’s an institution that’s been in the Black community since the 19th century,” explained Adrian Burney, the Executive Director of Mended Arrows Academy of Barbering. “It’s just a safe space for our young men who may not have had a platform or an opportunity to open up.”

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“T(hair)apy Cuts Mentoring” program.

Through an Elevation Grant from the City of Indianapolis, Mended Arrows expanded it’s “T(hair)apy Cuts Mentoring” program to the Pivot Re-engagement Center that operates out of the Finishline Boys & Girls Club on North Post Road.

“Having our participants understand that looking good also helps them with their character and also helps put them in a better position when looking for jobs,” said the center’s director, Jon Johnson.

The center helps young men like Byrd get back on the right track by helping them get their GED, job training and more.

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“T(hair)apy Cuts Mentoring” program.

“They helped me a lot like I used to be homeless. They helped me throughout being homeless. That’s one thing I can say, they helped me when my family wasn’t even here,” he said.

The center also partners with the Indy Public Safety Foundation to offer a safe space every night from 7-11 p.m., something they believe is needed during the summer.

"Being able to be an open door, I think people need it and hopefully that changes a little crime around this area,” said Johnson.

"They come together for basketball, they come together to eat and get their haircut. It's like one big family,” added Bryd.

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“T(hair)apy Cuts Mentoring” program.

Free haircuts for youth ages 16 to 24 happen every Tuesday night through the end of summer.

There will also be a free barber training course beginning June 5, where young men will learn about entrepreneurship.

To sign up, contact the center at (317) 672-3410