Jozef Jason came to The Fuller Cut barber shop in Ypsilanti, MI to get a cool new mohawk in time for picture day. Jozef's father, on the other hand, chose this barber shop among others for his son for an entirely different reason.
The Fuller Cut barber shop offers $2 off haircuts, provided that a child reads a book aloud during the haircut.
"It's an amazing thing," Jozef's dad Jason said in an interview with NPR."It's helping my pockets, it's helping their education, and it's helping prepare a better future for them, so I love it."
Ryan Griffin, a 20-year barber-shop veteran, started the program after he became inspired by a similar literacy program in Harlem, NY. It became a ground-breaking hit, with donations pouring in within the month of debut.
"We get complimented by teachers that say it does so much for these kids throughout the school year," Griffin confirms.
"Any help these kids can get with reading and ... comprehension is a big thing. You know, maybe someday some kid will grow up and be a journalist, be a writer, and he'll say, 'You know what, when I was young, my barber used to make me read.' " says Griffin with pride.
It's clear that The Fuller Cut does double duty: hair care, as well as having a vested interest in what's just beyond the locks, their client's growing minds. The shop has a selection of books that they think will capture the interest of young African America boys of all ages, from topics including black kid detective mysteries to autobiographical accounts of their favorite African American sports stars.
In the past year, over 100 children have been confirmed as having read to Griffin. While not every child loves the reading component, many parents have a trick up their sleeve. They let their child know that for reading, they get to keep the $2 reading incentive cash. That's usually enough to get a young kid whose allowance is less than that in a week excited about cracking open a book, and reading to their barber.