"Building Opportunity that Yields Success"

The Barbershop B.O.Y.S. initiative links children and youth to hair salons and barbershops in their community. These businesses will provide self-care needs at no cost to participants. Cost associated with this initiative will be paid for by Allegheny County.



The Barbershop BOYS initiative is a supplemental service, funded by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, to provide foster youth, ages 11 and under, that emphasizes haircare, personal care products, exciting social exposure, and educational workshops and services that support the following components of Self-Care:

  • Increase school attendance
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Enhancing personal appearance
  • Increasing self-care knowledge
  • Building cultural knowledge and skills

The Barbershop BOYS initiative takes a holistic approach to Self-Care and incorporates the following program components:

  • Haircare and personal hygiene services provided by local barbershops and arranged by their Small Seeds “Youth Coach”
  • Quarterly Workshops teaching participants to embrace the importance of self-care and not view it as a one-time or reactionary event
  • Community Coaches that give participants the chance to form relationships with caring adults, build skills, exercise leadership, and help in their school and communities
  • Activities focusing on the development of assets and competencies in all participants - learning how to cooperate, make friends, and negotiate conflicts

ABC's of Self-Care

  • Awareness – Be attuned to your needs and practice self-acceptance. Develop the habit of “checking yourself.”  
  • Balance – Maintain a healthy balance among your activities. Balance school, family life, rest and leisure. Remind yourself that you deserve to have a meaningful and enjoyable life outside of school.
  • Connection – Maintain supportive relationships to elicit support and avoid isolation. Connections can also increase feelings of hope.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Enhancing appearance of participants on an ongoing basis when attending school, hearings, home visits, and social activities.
  • Reducing truancy due to embarrassment and/or bullying from unkempt appearance
  • Improving self-esteem, demeanor, and behavior
  • Increasing knowledge and skills about how to maintain healthy hair and a neat appearance


Self-Care Workshops

The workshops teach children and youth to practice everyday maintenance and well-being and cover the following topics:

  • What is Self-Care
  • The Benefits and Stressors of Self-Care
  • Strategies for Maintaining Self-Care

Workshop Learning Objectives:

  • Define self-care and talk about its relationship to stress management and personal growth and development
  • Discuss self-care stressors and when and where you may be frequently exposed to them
  • Reflect on the benefits and rewards of being more self-care aware
  • Review self-care secondary or vicarious trauma and its causes,effects, and warning signs

Community Coaches

In-addition to advancing the development of the youth, the barbers and stylists at our partnering businesses act as community mentors for the children, extending support and sustainable achievement beyond the initial program. Small Seeds acts as a facilitator in this process of community building that culturally, has been a staple in many Barbershops and Hair Salons.


Small Seeds provides social exposure activities that emphasize opportunities to support children in the foster care system in developing a sense of a competence, usefulness, belonging, and empowerment

These activities may include but are not limited to:

  • Educational Field Trips and Site Visits
  • Guest Speakers (Professionals in the Self-Care Area)
  • Leadership DevelopmentFamily Outings

For more information about the Barbershop BOYS initiative, please contact:

 Comocrea Johnson
Program Coordinator
412-665-2810 ext. 215