One Year of COVID: Grooming the next generation of barbers

HARRODSBURG, Ky. (WTVQ) – The changes brought during the last year by the coronavirus have been widespread which include masks, business closures, virtual learning.

In addition, individuals have also been hit hard.

Not long after a Lexington man lost his job to covid, he saw it as a sign to pursue what had been a dream.

Since 2019 Campbellsville University has been grooming the next generation of barbers to wear a variety of hats to make a difference in their communities.

“I found the love for it from watching it when I was younger. I’ve been told several times that I needed to get into it I just kept overlooking it and saying I didn’t have time,” says Myron Russell, a student within the University’s Barber Program.

After losing his sales job, Russell enrolled as a student at the Harrodsburg campus where he was under the instruction of experienced barber Rodney James.

For 25 years, James has been keeping the old ways of a barber shop alive by caring about not just just the hair on a client’s head, but also what’s inside it.

“We are counselors and we are job creators and we have a chance to bridge people together with certain needs,” says James.

Back in the old days barber shops were a community spot to gather and talk about issues like politics and race and community.

James says today it’s just as important to continue having those conversations.

“Yes it can get a little tight, but when you have the chance to speak on it and you moderate it a lot of people feel more comfortable because they hear another perspective that may allow them to grow their understanding of another situation,” says James.

Because of the way Covid has trimmed back some business for many of these older barbers as well as threatened their health, they’ve retired.

Now it’s up to this new generation of barbers like Russell to keep the old time feel of a shop alive.

“Some of the barber shops you go to its more like a chop shop they want to just rush you through we’re really looking at the service industry side of it,” explains Russell.

Growing up, Russell recalls hearing some of those conversations that he says helped shaped him.

Once he gets his certificate this summer he wants to help shape the minds and thoughts of his clients positively as well as their hair, particularly some of the young kids who come in.

“You wear more than one hat when you’re behind this seat and you’re using the utensils, you can be a counselor you can help motivate somebody into doing something postive or moving into a positive step in their life,” says Russell.

The barber shop program takes about one year to complete.

Applications are being accepted now and on a rolling basis.

You can find an application by clicking the link here


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