ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Local barbers are doing what they can to help the younger generation stay focused and fresh while at school.
A grand opening ceremony was held Monday for the East Cutting Edge Barbershop at East Upper and Lower School. It's been made possible with a partnership between the school and the United Professional Barbers and Cosmetologists Association.
Wade Davis Jr., one of the barbers who volunteers his time there, has been cutting hair for 30 years. It’s like he was meant to do it.
"The story goes that my mother was doing here in the kitchen, where she went into labor," said Davis. "So, I tell people born into this."
Wade’s office on this day isn’t a barbershop, but rather East High School. And he’s not just a barber. Davis is also a mentor.
East Cutting Edge is the first barbershop located inside a Rochester city school.
“The barbershop is a place where everybody just comes together, has conversations, a place of encouragement, a place of openness,” said Willie Lightfoot of the United Professional Barbers and Cosmetologists Association.
Volunteer barbers give free haircuts there. They also teach students the craft. It's part of a renewed emphasis on teaching skilled trades.
“For these students to have access to these individuals every single day is critically important and I thank them for giving their time, energy and skills," said Superintendent Dr. Shaun Nelms.
“It’s slim pickings on barbers, so we’re hoping we may be able to groom a few,” said Davis
Grooming heads also means grooming young people for what’s ahead in life.
“We have an opportunity to pour into these kids so that they might, you know, handle critical thinking, make good decisions later on in life," Davis said. "We just hoping that we might be able to have a part in helping them to achieve those things that they want to achieve in life.”
The barbershop is open for two hours every Monday and Tuesday. Students can make appointments ahead of time.