Kids get free haircuts in time for school

caines | 8/16/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Just in time for the start of the school, a group of close to 40 young boys from financially-strapped families were treated to free haircuts by state certified, professional barbers along with free school supplies. And with classes set to resume on Aug. 20th, it was a treat that the boys say they really appreciated. After getting up from the barbers chair, eight-year-old Giovanni Gibson, a student at Carol City Elementary said, I like my haircut and now Im ready for school. Everybody was nice too. The fresh cuts and school supplies were made possible because of a collaboration between Casting Couch Promotions, the African American Performing Arts Community Theatre [AAPACT] and the Chopshop Barbershop [7283 Biscayne Blvd] sometimes referred to as Miamis first hip-hop barber shop. Keith Harrell, one of the planners of the event said, Our goal was to instill pride in our young men and to have them interact with some of South Floridas professionals. I come get my [haircut] every week, and when I spoke with the owner [Amir Youssef] he said yes before I could even finish my request. To be able to give back to our youth is great and everyone wants to feel and look good on the first day of school. Hopefully feeling better about their appearance will push them to be more productive in class. Harrell says that the day would not have been nearly as successful without help from the business community. Additional sponsors, besides those listed above, included: Grooming Gents; Kips Mix; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Miami Alumni Chapter; and the Rotary Club of Opa-locka and Miami Gardens. School materials were provided by the Gap, Inc, J-Crew and Banana Republic. They also sent employees to the event as volunteers to talk with the boys. Giving back is what its all about Im always excited to give back to the kids and help out as much as I can, said Erika Cevallos, general manager for Banana Republic. Just to see them enjoy themselves and smile is a great feeling; plus seeing other Gap employees that work in different locations is a plus as well. Youssef echoed her sentiments. We are a team here and its all about the kids and helping the people who live in this community, he said. With the new haircuts and school materials our young people are now all set for school. Im ready for school to begin, said nine-year-old Ali Carter. Im going to the 5th grade and I cant wait to walk in with my new haircut and book bag. Harrell says this and other events are all aimed at pointing youth in the right direction. We want to show the kids that they have an opportunity in life, he said. I want them to see me and say if he can do it, I can. You never know what a difference you may make just by touching one young persons life. By Eric Ikpeericikpe@gmail.com