Iowa kids looking for a fresh back-to-school 'do found a fun way to snag a free cut: by reading to their barber. Hair stylist Courtney Holmes from Dubuque, Iowa, recently spent four hours giving free haircuts to kids who read him a story.
Holmes is a member of the Dubuque Black Men Coalition, an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for kids in the community by providing support and leadership to local African-American kids. The group recently held a Back to School Bash, an event that offers community support, school supplies and other educational resources to kids and their families.
As part of the event, organizers asked Holmes if he would consider donating his time to offer free haircuts to kids who read to him. Holmes, a father to two young sons, immediately got on board. At the bash, he gave haircuts to kids from kindergarten to middle school, all while listening to them read about sports, superheroes, and even "Big Hero 6."
Holmes said the kids were excited about their new haircuts, and even more excited to read a story. He paused throughout his work to help his customers if they got stuck on a word. Parents, too, were happy about the free haircuts and the support helping their kids enjoy reading.
"That's what we wanted to do — to reach not only the kids, but the parents," Holmes said in an interview with the "Today" show, "to let them know that we are there for them and have support systems for their kids who may not have access to reading assistance or books."
At the end of the event, Holmes handed out business cards to the kids who didn't make it into his chair, offering a free cut in the future as long as the kids read him a story.
"Kids are our future," Holmes told People magazine. "But I'm worried about kids today. Many are not involved in something positive. If there is anything I can do to reach out them, to get them away from the negative – the bullying, the trying to be cool, the rap thing, trying to imitate that – I'll do it," said Holmes.