Courtney Homes, a barber at Dubuque’s Spark Family Hair Salon, recently came up with unique way of charging children for haircuts – he asked for stories instead of money! He’s passionate about supporting kids reading, so he had his little clients read out loud to him as he worked on their hair.
“The kids would come in, and I would say, “Go to the table and get a book you might like, and if you can’t read it, I’ll help you understand and we can read it together,” Holmes told reporters. “To be honest, I was amazed, the line started with four kids, and next thing I knew it was like 20 kids, all waiting for a haircut and eager to read.”
Homes conducted the unique initiative during the second annual Back to School Bash at the city’s Comiskey Park. Lots of kids showed up to get free haircuts and read to Homes in return.
Nine-year-old Tayshawn Kirby, for instance, read from Fats, Oils, and Sweets by Carol Parenzan Smalley. Later, Tayshawn’s brother Titan took the chair. The two boys’ aunt Kathleen Winfrey, who brought them to the park, was impressed with the whole idea. “I love it,” she told the media. “It’s good for our community.”
“This is amazing, it’s fabulous,” added Beth McGorry, who gave away books to the community through St. Mark Youth Enrichment – some of which were read to Homes. She was especially delighted that Homes was helping young children to pronounce words they weren’t familiar with.
Caitlin Daniels, a grade-level reading coordinator, also helped the kids struggling to read in the barber’s chair. “It’s great,” she said. “All the kids, they want to have a good haircut to go back to school. They’re paying through reading.”
Anderson Sainci, who coordinated the Back to School Bash, said that the event was possible due the collaboration of several nonprofits and community partners. “The idea is to connect people to people, and people to resources,” he said. “It helps all of us reach our full potential.”
Photos: Facebook/Dubuque Black Men Coalition