- Caroline Linder founded The Nashville Street Barbers in 2017.
- She wanted to use her skills to give back to the community and help the homeless.
- Today, Linder works with over a dozen barbers to give up to 80 free haircuts a week to the homeless.
- Linder has been named a hometown hero by Hardee’s „All Stars.“
It can be easy to forget how good humanity has the potential to be. Then you hear about people like Caroline Linder and all of a sudden the world feels like a good place.
Last year, Linder, a Nashville-based stylist, came across a group of people providing free showers to people in need. After witnessing the impact being had, she felt inspired to use her own skills to make a difference in her community.
„I started doing haircuts with a non-profit mobile shower group called Shower Up around a year and a half ago,“ Linder told INSIDER. „At first I was by myself, then more and more people with the same vision started to come and kept coming. That’s how The Nashville Street Barbers was born.“
The Nashville Street Barbers is a group of barbers providing free haircuts to homeless people in Nashville
Our friend Jay, pictured above, does haircuts on the streets when he’s not giving back with us on Monday’s, had all his friends tools taken from him this week. Jay cuts hair to supplement some income for himself and needs our help! If you have any tools or combs laying around that you don’t use anymore and want to donate them, that would be awesome. Feel free to bring them tonight!! We hope your coming to join us at 5:45, it’s going to be a great night! – – #nashvillestreetbarber #nashville #barber #cke #laforce #nashvillehairstylist #nashvillebarber #community #lovethyneighbor
One year after it’s creation, The Nashville Street Barbers has transformed from a one-woman operation to a team of over a dozen barbers providing free haircuts. The group now provides up to 80 free haircuts a week.
While Linder may make it look easy, getting the group up and running hasn’t been without its challenges. „Recruiting dedicated volunteers to come on a consistent basis is the hardest part,“ Linder said. „Most of us work a 40-hour-a-week job and fitting in the time to do extra haircuts can be challenging. I met three dedicated barber students — Abishai Collingsworth, Pebblez, and Ryan Timmons — that have helped really keep this group running and put my vision into focus.“
It’s no secret that starting an organization or company takes a lot of hard work and determination. At the end of the day, it’s what you’re able to accomplish that makes it all worth it.
„The most rewarding part is being able to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve,“ Linder said. „Not only do we catch up and give them a trim while they are in the chair, but it’s an opportunity for us to connect with people in our local community. That only comes with being able to show up and be a present part of their lives every week — we have built some amazing friendships just by showing up.“
Linder said she wants to change the narrative surrounding homelessness
„My biggest message is to get to know people before you judge and ridicule them,“ Linder said. „Everyone deserves that, whoever you are. People that do not have houses are not dirty, addicted, jobless, or have different morals. To be constantly looked over and dehumanized will take a toll on anyone,“ she said.
„I think people are too quick to judge the homeless, and they rely on old notions and other people’s experiences to form opinions that the homeless are somehow lesser than them,“ Linder continued. „Homeless people are people that are houseless. They are the same as you and I. They have wants, needs and dreams too. They are veterans, single mothers and fathers, construction crew, restaurant workers, mentally ill, physically ill, no family, no parachute, activists, children, and the elderly.“
If you want to make a change in your community, Linder recommended first deciding what you want to give
„The easiest way to start giving back is to decide what you want to give. Do you have time to give or a talent to share? Love and patience? Networking skills? Physical strength? Everyone has something valuable to give,“ Linder said.
For example, she said she recognized that from applying to jobs to feeling good about yourself, having a proper haircut can go a long way towards changing your life so she used her skill as a barber as her „something valuable.“
„Once you figure out what you want to help with, research local non-profits that can benefit from your gift and approach them. I guarantee they will welcome you and your heart. By volunteering with an existing non-profit, I was given ideas on how I could help as well as more confidence in myself. It will be the best thing you ever do.“
Although The Nashville Street Barbers is currently only active in Nashville, don’t expect it to stay that way forever
Linder has big plans, „My goal is to spread the message that every single one of us is valuable to others. We would love to inspire other groups to form all over. We want to help. Need some pointers or ideas to get it started? We would be honored to aid in any way we can. One day, we hope to be traveling to different cities and meeting with like-minded barbers to set up local movements. That is our number one dream, and we work towards this every week.“
Thanks to Linder’s inspiring work in Nashville, Hardee’s All Stars has recognized her as one of five hometown heroes across America.
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Source: Business insider