No child left unkempt

Instructor Charles Harris putting his final touches on nine-year-old Daniel Newson’s hair at Campbell Park Elementary School on March 3.

BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer

Different community organizations hold annual back-to-school events where children receive school supplies and free haircuts, but what happens down the road when wallets are still strapped, and hairdos have long grown out? 

Well, the Barbering program at Pinellas Technical College Clearwater campus (PTC-CLW) aims to solve that problem one haircut at a time. 

Barbering instructor, Charles Harris, and 11 of his students took the styling show on the road and set up shop at Campbell Park Elementary School where they cut more than 40 student’s hair.  

“I know some of our families won’t be able to afford haircuts, and we saw that there was definitely a need,” said Kathleen Parker, principal at Campbell Park Elementary. 

Parker explained that Campbell Park is a community school that offers wraparound services to its children and parents, such as mental health counseling for those experiencing trauma and a fully stocked food pantry. However, Tuesday’s event was the first time barbering services were offered. 

PTC-CLW Occupational Specialist Dr. Dallas Jackson, who has been friends with Parker since they were in elementary school, connected Harris and Parker, and the outcome was some thrilled students.

“I think this is the best place ever that I got my haircut,” said nine-year-old Daniel Newson, who is in the fourth grade.

Harris said the event not only gave his program a chance to give back to the community, but it also allowed his students to work on more live clients.

“In our class, we may not get enough clients to really work on, so this really exposes them to different textures of hair and give them an opportunity to work as they learn,” explained Harris.

Since Harris is the only instructor, he finds it hard to take his class on outings such as this one, but he’s rethinking his strategy. 

“Only because I have other classes to attend to, I have minimized these types of activities. But to see the level of excitement that we had today, we’re going to have to turn it up a notch,” Harris shared. 

Harris and his students plan to visit the school once a month to leave no child left unkempt. 

About the Barbering program

The Barbering program is a 1200-hour PELL eligible course that is featured only on the Clearwater campus. Students are prepared for employment as a Restricted Barber or Barber with eligibility for Florida State Certification. 

Classes currently run four days a week, Monday – Thursday from 2:15-9 p.m. Next semester begins March 24.

For more information on the more than 40 programs offered at PTC, visit myptc.edu or call 727-893-2500 in St. Pete or 727-538-7167 in Clearwater.

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