‘Just pay it forward’: KC barber offers free haircuts for students

A Kansas City-area barber is paying it forward by giving students free haircuts and confidence.

“Hair’s not only a physical appearance, but that promotes mental health within oneself,” said Tim Gumby, owner of Gumby’s Barbershop.

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The idea was brought to him by his client and friend Craig Toombs, a student support educator for the nonprofit SparkWheel .

SparkWheel works to cut out any barriers that stand in students’ way, whether it be clothing, food or transportation.

“There was a student who was having issues with not wanting to take his hood off in the classroom, and oftentimes these are indicative to maybe not being able to have a haircut,” Toombs said.

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Gumby and Toombs said haircuts teach responsibility since they require pre-planning to make an appointment. Plus, students must practice respecting others’ time when showing up promptly for an appointment.

“I feel like they’ll walk into that school, feel as good as they can and put in their best effort,” Toombs said. “I think each student gets something different when they come out of this barbershop.”

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