INDIANAPOLIS — Inside the walls of KIPP Indy Legacy High the staff is working to teach kids beyond the classroom.
Leaders at the school will tell you that they work tirelessly to provide meaningful relationships and conversations for students.
Mended Arrows Therapy Cuts Mentoring Program partnered with the school to give free haircuts.
Mended Arrows says they are healing-centered barbers that create a safe space through free haircuts for youth and young adults. They address mental health concerns in a non-judgmental environment that promotes peace and alternatives to violence by educating young men to properly handle strong emotions, and conflict within themselves and in their community.
Inside KIPP Indy they are set up in a conference type of room.
They are having open conversations with students who are in their chairs, such as asking them about their lives, what they are interested in for the future and helping them work through any struggles.
For the students, they say it gives them confidence. It shows them what is possible and allows for them to feel confident in themselves.
"A lot of the young men that we serve, a lot of times there is a lot of heaviness, a lot of young men are in their heads. They're trying to figure out things. They're considering the future," Adrian Burney said.
He's a barber who works to provide guidance and mentorship for the kids.
The leaders at KIPP Indy say they recognize the trauma people living in the Martindale Brightwood neighborhood face.
The area has had seven homicides in all of 2023.
But despite that, there is a lot of good that happens there.
The people who live there are proud of their community and are invested in finding the good.
"We're not immune to the problems that exist within our community and how that affects our students, so we want to make sure that we are providing support and services to our students if it's within our control," Nikita House, the school leader said.
But the kids who go to school here aren't the neighborhood.
"I know it gets hard sometimes but stick to your dreams and accomplish those and don't hang with the wrong crowd," one student said.
The school says the entire goal of all of this is to make sure their students are growing to be engaged adults who can handle hardships when they come their way.
The school says opportunities like this give hope and show anything is possible.