Free haircuts offer an opportunity to mentor Sharon Hill students

Between 15 to 20 students showed up to Jamal Whitsett's event, which promised free haircuts in exchange for an open mind.

Jaclyn Lee Image
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Free haircuts offer an opportunity to mentor Sharon Hill students
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Jamal Whitsett said his goal is to be a mentor to the young men at Academy Park High.

SHARON HILL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Jamal Whitsett grew up in Delaware County and graduated from Academy Park High School.

He says it was extremely painful to learn about the news this November of the fights and lockdowns that spawned a police response.

"I've never seen anything like that and I said to myself, 'If there's anything I can do, I have a skill, which is barbering, which is these clippers," said Whitsett.

His goal is to be a mentor to the young men at Academy Park High.

"Some people, they don't have dads in their life, you know what I'm saying?" said 11th grader Abraham Dean. "So you come out here, they give us advice. I feel like they're doing the right thing.'"

Between 15 to 20 students showed up to Whitsett's event, which promised free haircuts in exchange for an open mind.

"What I'm doing can be considered mentoring but it's one-on-one mentoring. This is what the barbering situation is about. If you're sitting right here, I have your ear," said Whitsett.

School administrators call a role model critical to a young man's success.

"I think that's very powerful because sometimes, as you know, boys think, 'I can't cry, or if I'm emotional, then I'm not a man,'" said Ebony Bright, attendance secretary/ assistant athletic director at Academy Park High School. "And that's someone who can tell them, 'You are a man and this is why.'"

Whitsett says if he can save one student, he's done his job.

"The way they do that it just makes me more comfortable to talk to them about anything so it allows me to really open up and get a feeling of where I want to be," said 12th grader Mark Henry.

Organizers said they hope to hold this event at least every other month, and they hope more students attend each time.