It’s something just as important as new supplies for the school year: a fresh haircut.
That’s what one local barber is doing for students across the desert, all for free.
“I think everyone is in some way or another struggling, especially with the pandemic,” Hands on Deck Mobile Barbershop Owner Robert Villarreal said. “Prices, the economy, everything’s rising and it’s hard. I don’t see it getting any lower. That’s my way to give back so those parents don’t have to struggle.”
Since May, Villarreal has been traveling from the west valley to the east getting students ready for the first day of school.
“I like to go out there and provide a nice service for these kids, especially for the parents that have multiple kids because it can get expensive,” he continued. “I know how that was growing up. My dad would cut my hair and it wasn’t always the best.”
But this is also a school of sorts for Villarreal who, in addition to being a barber himself, is a teacher at a local beauty school.
His students there are helping with these haircuts, getting experience while also giving back to the community.
“I grew up here in the valley so I know what kind of struggle they come from,” International School of Beauty Student Jesus Trejo shared. “It’s nice to have a free haircut, especially nowadays. I remember when I was young, a simple fade was $7 and now the price is $70 in some places. So, it’s nice. I’ve been sharing it with people that I know that have school-aged children. I’ve been sharing that with them, telling them to come to this event because it’s free. There’s no harm in coming.”
And while school starting itself can be stressful, a new haircut can make all the difference.
“It’s one less thing to worry about,” Trejo continued. “You want to be in school paying attention. You don’t want to be in school thinking, ‘People are looking at my head.’ Even though nobody is, it’s for yourself. It’s a good thing for the students’ self esteem.”