First graduates from Mind Program celebrate progress, growth, great haircuts

Barbers line up to give their client a fresh cut, but this barbershop is different because these barbers are also shaping lives.
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 3:09 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2023 at 7:16 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Two Lincoln men had a dream, and it’s finally come to fruition. They’re a psychologist and a barber and wanted to combine their two professions into one, but they wanted to make sure their vision would impact the community in the future.

That’s how KB Mensah and Dr. Lawrence Chatters with Visionary Youth got a bus and turned it into a mobile barbershop.

It’s a shop like a lot of others. Barbers line up to give their client a fresh cut, but this barbershop is different because these barbers are also shaping lives.

“First I was pretty nervous because I didn’t know anybody but once I got to know them and stuff, felt comfortable talking to them,” said Adrian who was enrolled in the program.

MIND Program celebrates graduation of first cohort
MIND Program celebrates graduation of first cohort (Ellis Wiltsey)

That’s what the Mentoring in New Dimensions Program is all about.

With each cut, the clients also get a fresh perspective from their mentors, the barbers.

“Research shows that the more close relationships that a young person has, as they develop, the higher their likelihood is of being successful in their academics, and also just in their general growth and development,” said Dr. Chatters.

Students celebrate personal growth, great haircuts after graduating from Visionary Youth's MIND...
Students celebrate personal growth, great haircuts after graduating from Visionary Youth's MIND program(Ellis Wiltsey)

It’s a time when the kids get help forming their future and processing the present.

“It just made me like feel happy to go on on the bus because I get a haircut and we get to talk about how like we’re doing the school and stuff like that,” said Tadarrius, who is in the program.

Students celebrate personal growth, great haircuts after graduating from Visionary Youth's MIND...
Students celebrate personal growth, great haircuts after graduating from Visionary Youth's MIND program(Ellis Wiltsey)

The barbers are trained in mentorship, and then afterward the kids get to meet with a licensed mental health practitioner.

It happens every week, for 10 weeks.

“They do group peer work that they do is so intentional, but it’s meaningful,” Mensah said. “And it really helps the kids be able to express themselves, it helps them to build that confidence.”

This week, the first cohorts of the Mind Program graduated.

It’s a moment that inspires everybody from the kids to the barbers.

“It just brings a lot of joy,” said Lawrence Gardiner, a therapist. “It brings a lot of hope. Because you see when adults work together to support the community. It just brings a lot of those feelings where you’re encouraged. Because you see the kids respond, you see the kids reflect you see their growth. And if they’re growing, then we’re all growing.”

This is the first year of the Mind Program, it is completely free to participants.

Organizers said they’re looking for barbers who want to give back, therapists who want to help kids reach their full potential, and families whose children would thrive in this environment.

Students celebrate personal growth, great haircuts after graduating from Visionary Youth's MIND...
Students celebrate personal growth, great haircuts after graduating from Visionary Youth's MIND program(Ellis Wiltsey)

To become a barber/mentor, lend your professional therapy services, or get your kid into the MIND program, follow this link to learn more.