Saving lives through hair with Josh Santiago
The barbering industry today is laser focused on earning potential. Take a few scrolls on social media and you are sure to find information on how to increase clientele, how to raise your prices and what services you should offer to make more money. Josh's perspective is different.
Joshua Santiago, founder of the not for profit Empowering Cuts, has given out over 8,000 haircuts. The catch? They are all free. Josh heads into the Kensington section of Philadelphia daily to provide free haircuts for the homeless. Deemed the largest open air drug market in America, Kensington is the roughest area in Philadelphia and one of the worst in the United States. Josh grew up in the area and knows it well. This is Kensington through Josh's eyes:
Many will ask why? Why put yourself at risk in these areas where others wouldn't dare step foot? For Josh, its about treating these individuals who have lost their way like real people. He describes these efforts as "humanizing the homeless." Here's what that means:
To the everyday person, these conversations are a common experience. The homeless and the drug addicted are denied this interaction. This takes a major toll on the psyche. The simple action that Josh provides makes the world of difference in the lives on these individuals. Here is what he's been able to do from a haircut and a conversation:
This speaks to Josh's character. He does not judge those with the disease of addiction. He understands that path to recovery is not straight, but a winding road. Regardless of the setbacks, Josh is determined to be of support throughout. The best part about Josh's journey? He's just getting started. Josh recently has taken on the venture full time and he envisions a bright future ahead. Here is what is coming for Empowering Cuts: