LOWELL, Mass. — A Lowell middle school has launched a first-of-its-kind program with an onsite barbershop offering free haircuts to students during school.
Lowell Mayor Sokhary Chau presented a certificate to the organizers during a ribbon cutting at Sullivan Middle School Tuesday night, recognizing the pioneer program in the state.
The barbershop, called “Husky Kutz,” after a vote from the students, will operate each Monday through the school year, starting Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., with master barber Joseph L’Heureux, co-owner of The Shoppe LLC in Dracut, volunteering his time each week.
“Haircuts can go a long way, whether it be a confidence thing, whatever it may be, it’s a positive thing in somebody’s life,” L’Heureux said. “Whether it be four haircuts a day or eight, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll be here giving haircuts and try to give as many as I can… Just trying to give back to the community I grew up around.”
Community school manager Gayl Hurley developed the idea for the barbershop nearly a year ago. She began planning, finding the funding in a community school grant, teaming up with L’Heureux and scheduling a state inspection required for a real, operational barbershop.
“It’s inspected, legit, ready to rock and roll,” Hurley said. “[We’re] wicked excited. This is a long time coming.”
Hurley believes the barbershop will increase confidence among kids, improve attendance, provide mentorship with L’Heureux, and help families that may not have the money or time to book appointments outside school.
“We feel that there might be barriers to go get a haircut. It could be transportation, it could be financial, or maybe just people don’t feel comfortable with a certain person,” Hurley said. “So, we’re hoping we can build relationships with our barber Joey, and knock down some of those barriers.”
Students, both boys and girls, can fill out a Google form to book an appointment and a school administrator will follow up with their parent or guardian prior to the haircut.
Lucas, a Sullivan seventh-grader was the first to sit in L’Heureux’s chair, getting a blowout on the grand opening Tuesday.
Lucas’s mother, Amanda Kerrigan, told Boston 25 News she will continue to send her son to school for haircuts.
“I’m a single mom. So, this is definitely convenient for me,” Kerrigan said. “I work a lot. So, it’s easy for him to come in and get this done right at school. It’s amazing.”
On Monday – the first official school day the barbershop is open – L’Heureux’s schedule is booked solid.
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