Youngstown barber shops helping young students read during summer

The program is called B.R.I.D.G.E. -- which stands for Barbershop Reading Initiative Developing Growth in Education

Twelve of the Youngstown area barber shops have joined together to help bridge the reading gap that often occurs during the summer for students from kindergarten-3rd grade.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) –¬†Thirteen of the Youngstown area barber shops have joined together to help bridge the reading gap that often occurs during the summer for students from kindergarten-3rd grade.

The program is called B.R.I.D.G.E. — which stands for Barbershop Reading Initiative Developing Growth in Education. It runs through Aug. 28.

The first session was held Monday afternoon at the Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge in the Southern Park Mall. Four kids listened as a candidate for Youngstown Mayor, Sean McKinney, read to them.

Students must attend at least five sessions to be eligible for prizes, including a free haircut and grooming products.

“The influence that we could have for the young children,” said Kelan Bilal, owner of Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge. “That positive image that we can give to them. That’s big in my heart. I like to see the guys grow. That’s part of what I do, grooming. I like to groom them from young to old.”

Bilal met two years ago with officials of the U.S. Department of Education to help create the B.R.I.D.G.E. program.

Here are the rest of the program dates:

  • June 19 at In The Cut Barbershop — 196 McCartney Road
  • June 26 at Step It Up Cuts — 3131 South Avenue
  • July 3 at Creative Kuts (The Dapper Male) — 4065 Hillman Way
  • July 10 at Underground Cuts — 2231 Mahoning Avenue
  • July 17 at G’s Chop Shop — 719 Canfield Road
  • 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 .

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