Partners in Education: Barbershop helps kids read

WGBAPublished: August 9, 2018Updated: August 10, 2018
Published: August 9, 2018Updated: August 10, 2018

Local barbers are helping students become lifelong readers. The initiative comes from Washington Middle School in Green Bay. Language arts teacher, Jennifer Ditzman, says she wanted to implement this project after getting some inspiration from a fellow English teacher from Bronx, New York. "Alvin Irby, he did a TED talk about his barbershop book initiative, and I was really intrigued,” said Ditzman. “The idea was to get books in male-centered spaces but not in serious topics, but rather highly engaging books." So, with a bit of motivation, Ditzman reached out to get this program going and local barber, Torrence Casey, was excited to help. "Giving back, I just love giving back and the children are our future, and we have to train them up, so they know where to go in life, so they know where they get older for our youth, they're our future,” said Casey, the owner of Edge Barbershop. For 7th grader Marcus Jones, he says he loves reading while getting his haircut, and for bigger reasons: he says he feels safe in this space. "You won't get judged by your color," said Marcus. Teachers hope that Marcus, along with all of the students, will call themselves lifelong readers. “If we can impact students and provide, or help provide, books and to get them to say that, and make reading exciting and fun, the hope is that we're impacting them to be lifelong readers and lifelong learners,” said Ditzman. If you're reading a book at Edge Barbershop, you'll get a half-off discount. Haircuts will only cost you five dollars.

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