Barber says reading with kids through summer program is ‘beautiful’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Over 100 kids around Youngstown are spending their Monday afternoons reading this summer, thanks to a new barbershop initiative.

The B.R.I.D.G.E. Program — which stands for Barbershop Reading Initiative Developing Growth in Education — started in June. This is the first year of the program.

It helps kids retain what they learned in school over the summer break.

Thirteen Youngstown-area barbershops are participating. Kids that come to five or more reading sessions are given a free haircut and grooming products.

Founders of the program say it’s been wildly successful and helps barbers connect with the community.

“It’s been beautiful, just seeing the growth and the encouragement the kids have, like, the love they have in their eyes for this program,” said Kelan Bilal, owner of Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge in the Southern Park Mall.

Keland Logan, a community activist, said barbers do so much more than just cut hair.

“A barber is a mentor, he’s a style coach, he is so much more to the community.”

The next program date is Monday at G’s Chop Shop on Canfield Road in Youngstown.

There are several other reading sessions left in the program:

  • July 24 at Upper Class Cuts — 115 East Rayen Avenue
  • July 31 at Exquisite Cuts Youngstown — 2615 Glenwood Avenue
  • August 7 at Kingdom Cuts — 3621 South Avenue
  • August 14 at Ryan’s Chair — 2935 Glenwood Avenue
  • August 21 at Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge — Southern Park Mall
  • August 28 at The Starting Lineup — 47 Central Square