Memphis Barber Educates Elementary School Boys While Giving Free Haircuts

PHOTO: Memphis barber Fidell Woods gives free haircuts every Wednesday to male students at Dr. William Herbert Brewster Elementary School.Fidell Woods
Memphis barber Fidell Woods gives free haircuts every Wednesday to male students at Dr. William Herbert Brewster Elementary School.

For some lucky Memphis elementary school boys, every Wednesday they get their hair cut for free while doing a little learning.

Fidell Woods, who works 20 minutes away from Dr. William Herbert Brewster Elementary School at CJ’s First Class Cuts, heads to the school on his day off to groom about seven to 10 boys.

Woods got the idea after having lunch with his niece in the school's cafeteria five years ago.

"I was sitting at the lunch table and looking around and said, 'These young guys could use some haircuts,'" Woods, 36, recalled to ABC News.

So, after talking to the Shelby County school's parent counselor, he decided to plan a haircut day.

Woods' idea is getting a lot of attention in his hometown recently, with a local newspaper recently covering his good deeds.

PHOTO: Memphis barber Fidell Woods gives free haircuts every Wednesday to male students at Dr. William Herbert Brewster Elementary School.Fidell Woods
Memphis barber Fidell Woods gives free haircuts every Wednesday to male students at Dr. William Herbert Brewster Elementary School.

"It was such a success the first time, [the counselor] said, 'Think you can come back next week?' It started off as fun and it ended up to turning into what it is now," Woods explained.

Now, Woods, who at the time was studying early childhood education at Southwest Community College, has turned it into a weekly program. The boys come into his classroom to get their cuts, but they leave with much more.

"A lot of the young guys really can't afford to get their hair cut, but when you cut your hair that does something to a man," Woods said.

PHOTO: Memphis barber Fidell Woods gives free haircuts every Wednesday to male students at Dr. William Herbert Brewster Elementary School.Fidell Woods
Memphis barber Fidell Woods gives free haircuts every Wednesday to male students at Dr. William Herbert Brewster Elementary School.

He added that once he saw the cuts gave the boys "a little swag," he decided to "encourage them to read a book. When you feel better, you do better."

Math problems are also written on the chalkboard that they must complete. For the boys having trouble in school, Woods has become someone they can talk or vent to.

The program has not only changed the boys he mentors, but also Woods himself.

"Once I saw how the boys looked up to me, it made me change my attitude," he said. "I’m really there to help educate them because it’s hard for me to see young black males who don't know how to read and do math. That’s the basics. If you can’t do that you can’t survive."

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