In the beginning of July 2023, one barber saw an opportunity to help others in his community and took it. Jayon Hughes, also known as Jay Da Barber, was working one quiet Tuesday at his usual spot across the street from The Cherry Street Mission, a local charity aimed at helping people overcome poverty. Looking across the street at the mission he thought of a way to lend a hand to his community as well by offering free haircuts to those who needed or wanted them.
“Seeing everybody out there, just in distress…I knew I had to help them. Me giving a haircut, knowing they’re satisfied with their haircut, that’s something money cannot buy,” Hughes said. Hughes was not worried about the cost of his time or services: “The money will come. It’s not about the money.” His interest was in helping those less fortunate than himself and possibly setting them up for a life-changing opportunity. “I cut like ten people. Four of those homeless people had interviews the next day. So yes, I got them interview ready.”
Even though he wasn’t out there for recognition, the recognition found him. Tanya Marria Murphy was driving by one day, and seeing what was going on inspired her. She stopped and got out to do a quick story about him for her Facebook. “I do #TanyaWitThaTee and it’s some accidents and sometimes negative. I want to bring positive and I love community involvement, so I had to get that.” Tanya said. The story she created for her Facebook ended up garnering more than 45 thousand views over the course of 48 hours.
Murphy is no stranger to barbers as her son is an experienced barber and said he was not surprised to see that she found that particular selflessness interesting saying: “Seeing him do it, it’s like, that’s what I’m talking about. That’s how you put the map out there. That’s why my mother sees stuff like that and captures it because that’s the type of stuff I’ve been doing. That’s how she sees me as well.” In Tanya’s opinion the best part of what Jay Da Barber was doing was giving back a sense of self to those who may have needed it most. “To see the smile on his face. They could be panhandling, people will say ‘Get out of here. I don’t want it. Don’t talk to me.’ And for him to be praised like that, that’s going to give him an oomph.”
Jayon Hughes did a great job showing what one person can do to impact the lives of others, no matter how small the scale may be. He said that he plans on doing it again in the future. “I tried to cut as many people as possible, and I hope to do that again.” One individual giving up an afternoon to use their skills to aid others is the exact type of thing we love to see and share at Voluntaryism In Action. We’re excited to see what Jayon Hughes aka: Jay Da Barber does moving forward for his community.