Children who read books to a local barber have received a free haircut as part of a community event in Dubuque to help families prepare for the upcoming school year.
Barber Courtney Holmes traded the tales for trims on Saturday during the second annual Back to School Bash in Comiskey Park.
Tayshawn Kirby, 9, of Dubuque, read from “Fats, Oils and Sweets,” by Carol Parenzan Smalley, informing Holmes that the average person eats 150 pounds of sugar each year. Before Tayshawn’s 10-year-old brother, Titan Feeney, took his turn in the barber chair, he told his brother the new look was great.
“I just want to support kids reading,” Holmes said.
St. Mark Youth Enrichment gave away books during the event, some of which were read to Holmes. Outreach coordinator Beth McGorry with St. Mark said she enjoyed watching Holmes help young children sound out the words they didn’t know yet.
Caitlin Daniels, grade-level reading coordinator with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, also helped struggling readers in the barber chair.
“It’s great. All the kids, they want to have a good haircut to go back to school,” she said. “They’re paying through reading.”
The city’s acting resource manager, Anderson Sainci, coordinated the event, which involved nonprofits and other community partners.
More than 100 people learned about free resources and before- and after-school opportunities available to families and students. The first full day of classes in Dubuque is Sept. 1.