Good Shepherd barber program preps youth for careers
In the back of a brick building on Blake Avenue in East New York, the sounds of buzzing clippers and good-natured banter fill the room on most mornings.
The place isn’t a barbershop, though, it’s a school—part of a program designed to help local youth embark on new careers as barbers.
The center is run by Good Shepherd Services, a nonprofit dedicated to youth in low-income New York City neighborhoods. The program — Good Shepherd’s Barber School — was started by Sandra West, who oversees job training at the organization’s Academic and Career Enrichment program.
Since its inception last year, more than 20 apprentices have completed the training under the tutelage of master barber Christopher Workman, who also works as a mentor at Good Shepherd.
Some of the students have been previously involved with Good Shepherd’s Juvenile Justice program, which focuses on at-risk youth, but it’s also open to members of the community, ages 17-24, looking to make a positive change, regardless of their background, says West.