BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A barber in Ensley used money out of his own pockets to invest in his community - giving out 100 free backpacks and haircuts so kids could start this school year off right.
There's so much more to this event than meets the eye. This is about showing the kids there's nothing stopping them from being their best. With every free haircut came a boost in confidence for dozens of kids in Ensley.
"Their appearance matters," said Perfect Line Barber Shop manager Robert Banks. "The first day of school is the best day of school."
Aniya Tyson was one of the many students who received school supplies.
"I'm excited about my teachers and being there with my friends and learning," she said.
And thanks to Banks, every backpack and all these school supplies are free.
"In this community, we have a lack of education, high crime rate, so these children are our future," said Banks. "So if we can give to the children now, and let them see us giving back, when they get older, they'll give back. It'll be a cycle. It'll be a transformation."
This is the third year Banks has organized this event. It's one he said can change the future of this community just by showing these kids their potential.
"I hope, one day that might be a barber, or they might be a news anchor, or they might be a mayor," he said. "We had some city councilors out here today."
He said it's not just about the schools supplies and haircuts. It's about the feeling these kids leave with.
"Seeing the children smile out there playing, that makes my day right there. That's all I need to do," said Banks. "See that little smirk he just did right there? That's all I need to see right there. That little smile."
It's about proving to these kids they're capable of making any dream a reality.
"I want to be a police officer," said Aniya. "If I do that and finish, then I'm going to be a lawyer."
And this back-to-school event isn't just all Banks does. Throughout the year, he gives free haircuts to kids of all ages who maintain an A.