Snip, snip. Barber Alex Mathis’ scissors cut through a little boy’s dark hair as the locks fell to the floor Tuesday. This would be an ordinary scene at the public barber shop in Roseboro where Mathis works, but today his work is different. His skills as a barber and his generous spirit have taken him out of the barber shop and into a local school.
Always looking for new ways to help students, Mathis and Salemburg Elementary offered holiday haircuts for students through the Backpack Buddies program.
“We’ve done “Haircuts for the Holidays” for two years now and it started with just a thought,” says Salemburg educator Mikasa Melvin. “I’ve known Mr. Mathis and we just got to talking about possibly doing something like this. The first year we did it Mr. Mathis was in barber school so it was good practice for him and, of course, we thought it would be something nice to do for the kids.”
But why haircuts? Melvin believes haircuts not only help a person’s outward appearance but can also affect how a person feels on the inside, too … how they see themselves. “Haircuts make a person feel good, you know,” explains Melvin. “When you leave the barber shop or the beauty parlor and look in the mirror and know that you look good, that kind of thing lifts your spirits a little.”
“I’m just glad that I have the ability to help in this small way,” he adds humbly, holding a mirror up so the little boy can see his new look.
“We’re very appreciative of Mr. Mathis,” says Melvin. “I think it’s important to give back, especially when it’s of yourself. Even though monetary giving is good, there’s something really special about using a skill or talent that you’ve been blesed with as a way to give back. That’s what Mr. Mathis is doing.”
Mathis gave 14 students a holiday haircut this year, an increase from last year’s 10 students. It is just one part of Salemburg Elementary’s Backpack Buddies program, which has been going on for about eight years now. The program regularly helps students in numerous other ways throughout the school year.
“We provide food to around 10 kids every Friday. We do Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas presents. We also take the kids on a field trip once a year, usually going to a nice place to eat and going to a museum or something educational that they might not normally get the chance to go to. Last year, we visited the Sampson County History Museum and ate a nice meal at Ribeye’s,” shares Melvin.
If your interested in helping Salemburg Elementary’s Backpack Buddies program, monetary donations can be sent to the school at 404 East College St., Salemburg, NC 28385. For more information about the program, call 910-525-5547.