Barbershops have long beenÂ special places within communities where laughs and life lessons are shared overÂ haircuts. Now, a barbershop in Michigan is gaining attentionÂ for its efforts to support its youngest customers by encouraging learningÂ with a discount to match, The Huffington PostÂ reports.
Located in Ypsilanti, Michigan,Â The Fuller Cut BarbershopÂ gives discounts to children whoÂ read books aloud during their appointment.
Ryan Griffin, a barber at Fuller Cuts, started the program after hearing about other barbershops around the country offering similar discounts.Â Last year,Â barber Courtney HolmesÂ implemented such aÂ programÂ in Dubuque, Iowa. Holmes wanted to get kids ready for school not only with haircuts but by encouraging good reading habits.
It'sÂ important to GriffinÂ that the kids visiting his shopÂ aren't reading just any book either. All of the books offered featureÂ positive portrayals of African Americans.
"Parents love it and the kids like getting the two dollars back," Griffin told The Huffington Post. "We get compliments from teachers all the time."
Griffin brought old books he had at home and asked for book donations from others as well.
Griffin told the Huffington Post that customers and the community are so enthusiastic about the program that it's even attracting new customers.Â He says heÂ hopes that this becomes something all barbershops and beauty salons do in the future, sending a message to children in the community that reading is cool.
"When little kids that don't really know how to read or what's going on see an older kid in the chair with a book and then grab a book too, that's what's important,"Â Griffin told the Huffington Post.
The story gets even better.
Kids don't just come in, read and then getÂ forgotten. Griffin followsÂ the progress of all the kids participating in the reading program. He likes to see that their reading is improving, especially the ones whoÂ come to the barbershop often.
Because readingÂ aloud often doesn't come easily to children,Â Griffin hopesÂ the program will give them the confidence to stand in front of their class and read, helping them not only now, but in the long run.
âIf we can get kids to come back to the Fuller Cut as adults in college and they tell us, âBecause you guys had us read here, it made me want to be a writer or journalist,' that's really the end goal,â he says.