Skinny’s Barber Shop Keeps Littles Looking “Fresh”

Thanks to locally owned south Austin barber shop and Big Brothers Big Sisters partner, Skinny’s, Little Brothers and Sisters enjoyed a great start to the 2019 school year!

Although the barber shop is typically closed on Mondays, Skinny’s owner, John Cleaveland, generously opened his doors to our currently enrolled Littles to provide them with free haircuts and school supplies.  The shop’s talented and big-hearted barbers came in to work on their day off, lending their time and expertise to help our kids look great and feel confident on their first day of class.

“Skinny’s manager, Cesar, sparked the idea for this special event, and the shop as a whole put in a lot of time and effort for our kids,” said Christina Eisenlord, BBBS’ Big Futures Coordinator. “All of the barbers were excited to offer their talent and to spread the word about BBBS’ need for more mentors.”

For Cesar, partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters was a great opportunity for Skinny’s to give back to the community. He felt a personal connection as well.

“When I was young, I had a mentor in my life,” he said. “So I know how Littles feel having a Big in their life.”

That afternoon, Big Brother, Andy, looked on as his Little Brother, Ben, got a fresh look to start his Junior year at Austin High School. Matched for almost nine years, they’ve shared a lot.

“I’ve watched Ben grow up, and he’s watched my life change a lot too,” said Andy. “I was first matched with Ben as part of a Big Couple with a former girlfriend. Since then, we’ve been together while I was a single Big Brother, began dating again, got married, and just had a new baby!”

Ben’s relationship with his Big Brother has also significantly influenced his plans for the future. Having the opportunity to visit Andy at his workplace, Apple, inspired him to plan for a career in the Computer Science field.

“Austin High has a lot of good computer science classes,” Ben said. “So, I’ve already gotten some good experience.”

Later in the day, Elsa looked on as her grandson, also a Little Brother, took his turn in the barber’s chair and spoke of her appreciation for BBBS’ youth mentoring program.

“Juan used to be very quiet and closed off. He wouldn’t look you in the eye,” she said. “Since he’s been matched with his Big Brother, Denver, he’s definitely become more social and self-confident.”

Although Juan was on the BBBS waiting list for almost two years, Elsa says the wait was worth it.

“He and his Big Brother have been matched for three years now and he loves Denver.”

By the end of the day, Skinny’s barbers had given fresh looks to almost twenty Littles, sending them off with a smile (and a lollipop too)! It was a great day, and a great opportunity for BBBS to grow their partnership with Skinny’s Barber Shop, who also hosted a special event in April that introduced Littles to the art and craft of the barbering profession, the logistics of becoming a professional barber and the experience of owning a small business.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters and Skinny’s both believe in the importance of community and supporting the people in it,” says Christina. “I’m really excited about our partnership!”

The event had a positive and memorable impact on the barbers as well.

“Being able to help kids feel good about going back to school was a great outcome for us here at the shop,” said Cesar. “It’s something we won’t forget.”

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