Jozef Jason came to the Fuller Cut barbershop for one reason: the kid’s mohawk. It’s almost second-grade picture day and he wants to look good. He hops up onto an antique swivel chair and asks his barber for the new ‘do.
“It’s high on the top and short on the bottom, and lines that go in a diagonal line where the top is gonna be,” explains the 7-year-old.
Jozef came for the mohawk, but his dad, Keith Jason, chose this barbershop over all the others in Ypsilanti — a working-class town just outside of Ann Arbor, Mich. — for a different reason. At the Fuller Cut, kids get a $2 discount if they read a book aloud to their barber.
“It’s an amazing thing,” Jason says. “It’s helping my pockets, it’s helping their education and it’s helping prepare a better future for them, so I love it.”
This program made its way to Ypsilanti because of Ryan Griffin, who’s been cutting mohawks, fades and tapers here for 20 years. He says he first read about a similar literacy program in Harlem, N.Y., so he asked his boss if they could replicate it. Within a few weeks people in the area were donating books to the cause.