Simon Vanderpool is a special education teacher from Kentucky. He started the “Books and Barbers” program to help instill a love for reading in children during the summer holidays.
Under this program, he stocks the barbershop in Lexington with books that are donated to his program. When the children come in for a haircut, they pick up a book before they settle into the chair.
They read aloud, and when they get stuck, the barber is happy to help them out. At the end of the haircut, the children get to keep the book, and they get paid for reading!
The payment is redeemed from the parents. They are charged sixteen USD for a haircut, out of which the children are paid three dollars.
Books and Barbers a blessing for single-parent households.
Vanderpool grew up with without a father. It has been his ambition to do something meaningful for children growing up in similar circumstances.
With this program, in addition to improving the reading skills, the children are also getting a mentor. Amir Shalash, who owns the barbershop, says he appreciates the chance to engage with children in a meaningful way.
A single mom who visits the shop with her son says she is very grateful for the positive influence of a male mentor in her son’s life.
Vanderpool is hopeful that other institutions will buy into this idea and help support children. He soon hopes to start a similar program for young girls.
Books, Barbers, and Ballers
Encouraged by the success of his program, Vanderpool has started a nonprofit called “Books, Barbers, and Ballers.” He hopes to get more professional athletes to participate as mentors for the little ones.
If you are interested in supporting the program, you can reach Simon Vanderpool at 606-304-1173 or email him at [email protected]