2012-08-15 / Front Page

Shear effort

200 kids get free haircuts through back-to-school ministry
By Elizabeth Billips

Barbers Ken Walker and Earnest Rucker Jr. give haircuts at First Baptist Church in Sardis. Barbers Ken Walker and Earnest Rucker Jr. give haircuts at First Baptist Church in Sardis. Something as simple as a haircut can make all the difference to a kid going back to school.

That’s what inspired Waynesboro barber Kendrick Walker put together a team of stylists and help 200 underprivileged youth look their best for the first day of classes.

“This really helps them to get off right on the right foot,” Walker said between clients at his Liberty Street barbershop, Anointed Touch. “When they look good, they feel good … and then they just do better.”

He’s been giving away backto school haircuts for five years now, having started the service, solo, from a barber chair on the back of a trailer.

This year he systemized the undertaking, enlisting three fellow barbers to set up a haircutting hub at Burke County Alternative School. With the help of a volunteer support staff, the trio served some 112 boys, and a second team, which included Augusta Technical College cosmetology instructor Linda Walker and two former students, cut and styled hair for 20 girls.

But that wasn’t enough for Walker, so the 28-year-old dad took his show to First Baptist Church in Sardis where his staff gave haircuts to more than 65 more boys, ranging from preschoolers to high schoolers.

It was a first at the Sardis church and a big deal for the Rev. Earnest Rucker, whose son Earnest Jr. joined in with his shears.

“It was awesome,” the pastor said, noting the overflow of children and parents spent their waittime in the sanctuary where Sunday school lessons were being held. “This project is great for the simple reason that there are parents here who are not fortunate enough to be able to take their children to get haircuts.”

And not only did the 200 students get new looks, they also took home new backpacks loaded with supplies, thanks to donations from the Church of the Living Word. Monies were also raised through Warfare in Waynesboro, a fight-night where Walker’s friend, police investigator Sgt. Charles Prescott went into the ring with a pro-wrestler to help with the cause.

While Sgt. Prescott knew going in that he’d lose, Walker said it was a huge win for every single child didn’t have to worry about whether his parents could afford a haircut or school supplies.

“I know how it feels not ‘to have.’” he said, reflecting on his own boyhood. “Seeing the smiles on those kids’ faces … well, it just feels great knowing what we did made them so happy.”

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