For years, barbershops have always been kind of a safe space. They’re a place to connect one-on-one with someone while also feeling (and looking!) fresh and new afterwards.
And the nonprofit Safe & Sound, they saw that as an opportunity,
“It’s really expensive! You know, you walk into a barbershop with less than twenty dollars, you might get turned away. We’re able to provide that for free for these youth.”
Derek Shoates works for Safe & Sound. Each week Safe & Sound hosts a traveling barbershop; it gets setup somewhere around Milwaukee, they offer free haircuts to youth, and in return, they encourage good conversation.
We all think that we have the answers for youth, but we don't. They have the answers... they're the youth!
“It started from just having the idea of using the barbershop setting to recreate conversations. We’re giving kids the opportunity to be around adults… accidentally!”
And whether these haircut-inspired conversations end up revolving around music or films, or even heavier topics like gun violence and segregation, Derek explains that by bringing these generations together, that leads to understanding, mentoring, and overall a stronger more connected community.
“Since the beginning of time we all talk about how when we were young adults didn’t understand us… we all make the same complaints,but we don’t do enough to bridge that gap. We all think that we have the answers to youth, but we don’t. They have the answers, they’re the youth!”
Want to learn more about Safe & Sound and Barbershop Mondays? Check them out here.