Kindhearted Barber Gifts Free Haircuts to Disabled Children on His Days Off
This Cincinnati barber is changing lives one haircut at a time.
Everyone needs a safe space.
Vernon Jackson, the owner of Noble Barber & Beauty in Cincinnati, Ohio, saw the importance of creating an inclusive space for his customers with disabilities.
So he did.
Jackson is the founder of The Gifted Event, a program that provides free haircuts to children with disabilities.
The Gifted Event was created in August 2021 and began with Jackson using his day off to provide free haircuts for children with disabilities in his community.
He was saddened by the challenges faced by parents of children with disabilities and their difficulty in finding affordable barbers with experience working with kids with very specific needs.
So, Jackson decided to offer his barbering skills to help children with intellectual, physical, or developmental disabilities feel good about themselves.
The Gifted Event program provides extra time and accommodations for the children and ensures they get a free haircut every third Monday of each month.
“I was hearing so many horror stories that parents were going through with other barber shops and just the barbers or stylists having no patience with their child,” Jackson told a local news outlet.
“I figured I would compromise by coming in on my day off so there were there would be no other barbers or stylists in the shop and I could give them the full attention that they need.”
Jackson explained that having an empty barbershop is best for children who are sensitive to new environments and sounds.
His goal is to help the children get acclimated to the barber shop so they can feel comfortable coming in when other employees and clients are there.
One of Jackson’s young clients, Ellison Eubanks, is a seven-year-old with Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defect.
He recently uploaded a TikTok video playing a game of “haircut stop and go” with young Eubanks while giving him a haircut.
“It’s been pretty cool to meet so many people from around the world who this video impacted,” Jackson told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “The many messages and emails I’ve gotten from people that donated. It’s beautiful seeing people support me personally and supporting the vision and seeing the heart that I have.”
Jackson was recently featured on The Jennifer Hudson Show to discuss his program, along with Ellison’s mother, Julie Eubanks. She wanted to publicly thank Jackson for his work and discuss the bond between him and her son.
“He (Ellison) wants to watch the video all the time,” Eubanks said. “There’s something about you that he was drawn to. I think you two are going to be friends for life.”
Jackson is now celebrating the four-year anniversary of his barbershop in the Corryville neighborhood of Cincinnati.
“These are parents that would pay any amount of money just for their child to be able to have an experience like any other person. And at the end of it, I can tell them ‘It’s covered,'” he said. “[They say] ‘I’ve got to give you a tip and I respond with ‘no, trust me, this is part of The Gifted Program, this is a gift from the community, myself. Please receive it.’”
“When I first started promoting that I was going to come in on my off day to do haircuts for children with different needs, a friend of mine just randomly inboxed me and said, ‘Hey Vern, can I sponsor a haircut?'” Jackson told CBS News. More and more people asked to donate money towards haircuts and Jackson started a GoFundMe.
The Gifted Event is now a public effort that has raised almost $80,000 in donations and given more than 300 haircuts.
Jackson has clients that come to him from other cities in Ohio for his service, and he hopes to one day provide free haircuts to children with special needs across the country – and maybe even the world.
“I’ve been getting inboxed from people from Denmark, Australia, London, Uganda, of course all across the country,” he said. “It’s really been a beautiful experience. This has allowed me to love to my fullest capacity and to see what happens when I do.”
Big guy. Big beard. Bigger heart.