'Books and Barbers' helps Lexington kids find male mentors, role models

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) Books and barbers are not two things you typically put together, but a Fayette County teacher is changing that.

Harrison Elementary teacher Simon Vanderpool teamed up with Amir Shalash, owner of Prince Cuts Barbershop, for a new mentorship program. It is aimed toward kids without a strong male figure in their lives.

"These kids are going to grow up and they're going to be the police officers, they're going to be the lawyers, they're going to be the newscasters, they're going to the teachers. Right now, we're investing in our future," Vanderpool said.

"Books and Barbers" is for any child grades K-6 who stops by the barbershop on Richmond Road in Lexington during normal business hours.

The kids get to pick out a book and read it to their barber. When they're done, they get to take that book home for free, along with $3 and a sticker.

"If they need somebody to talk to or somebody to confide in, they can be open, especially in the barbershop. It's really easy for them to kind of open it up," Shalash said.

Vanderpool and Shalash hope other people will follow their lead and spread the program across Fayette County.

"Maybe someone else starts this somewhere else as well," said Vanderpool. "[It's] just basically providing that mentorship for a kid, extending out that hand just being there to talk to them."

The program is in need of book donations, as well as mentors. If you would like to get involved, contact Simon Vanderpool at (606) 304-1173.

Fayette County Public Schools is not involved with this program.

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