Job training with a haircut? Englewood barbershop to host `Shop - Fox 2 News Headlines

Job training with a haircut? Englewood barbershop to host `Shop Talk`

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Does job training come with that haircut? That's why some men and teenagers are sitting in the chair at a barbershop in Englewood, one of Chicago's high crime areas. The owner says he wants his client to look good and feel good about their future.

There's an obvious buzz in the air in Englewood and it's not just coming from the clippers.

"We're going to sit here and have conversations and talk about what's going to happen next,” Sunni Ali Powell’s Barbershop owner Sunni Ali Powell says. “How we're going to conduct ourselves and what type of image we're going to portray."

That discussion is called Shop Talk and it will happen next month at Powell's Barbershop on 63rd Street in Englewood. It’s a neighborhood where a lot of young men would rather hang out on the streets instead of in classrooms.

To change that Powell says if some of them were reminded of their real potential, they’d choose another life and that's where he comes in.

At Powell’s Barbershop it's not just about a cut, a trim and a style. Powell says it's also about job readiness, mentoring and letting everybody who sits in his chair know what's going on in the community.

“We have to create situations where they can go to school. They can start over fresh and have some type of vocation or trade or just be reintroduced to the educational system," Powell says.

Alfred Pounder is a barber now after he says he was introduced to hope. Pounder says the streets had him for a while, but after serving time, someone gave him a chance and he wants to return the favor.

“If we see somebody that's not going to school we make sure that they understand that school is important,” Pounder explains. “We're not going to encourage you dropping out of school.”

When people in the neighborhood make a difference like this, Deputy Chief Leo Schmitz says together they can keep crime and gunfire down this summer.

"We meet with the community, we meet with the pastors, we meet with the business leaders and the community people,” Schmitz says. “I really believe that they've help stop a lot of violence around here.”

Powell says giving up on these young men is not an option.

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