By IYANI HUGHES
A former Kennesaw State University student started a small nonprofit and became more than just a hero to Cobb County, Ga.,’s youth – but he started by simply cutting hair.
Justin Tutt, KSU alumnus, has impacted his community in more ways than one. Upon graduation, he worked your average job at Costco while giving children haircuts on the side – but this was not just your average cut.
After doing some self-reflecting out of college, he decided to change how people saw him and his haircuts. When Tutt cut his client’s hair, he did not ask for money, but instead made them read as a form of payment to him. He would turn the chair around so they were unable to see the cut, as an incentive to finish the book.
He said, “As they began to read, if they messed up on a word, I would stop the cut, go back to the word, sound it out, get it going, and it just became a routine.”
His new idea not only sparked an urge for his clients to do better with their reading, but for him to want to help more children become readers and do other things he didn’t necessarily have the chance to do growing up.
He figured the next step is to start a mentoring program in an attempt to reach out to younger kids in and around his Cobb County, Ga., community. So he did, and appropriately named it Kutz 4 Kids (K4K). His goal with K4K was to not just help young kids read, but to reach out to them as a friend, mentor and resource for higher education. Since then, K4K has turned 2 years old as a nonprofit organization and is quickly moving up in the community.
A recent initiative he has started to stress the importance of higher education is “A Day In College” as a traditional college student. He hopes to have over 150 students that will be able to explore the KSU campus this summer and visit a college dorm room, attend educational seminars in college classes, enjoy a campus lunch party and do activities with university athletes and organizations.
He said, “I just want these kids to just experience this and really know what to expect. I want them to put in their mind that this is possible. If you have never seen it, then you really don’t know if it can happen. So, I want them really to just get that feeling and to see what it takes and hear from people that’s like them.”
Warren Pettis, the K4K Chief Financial Officer believes “A Day In College” is a great initiative. He supports Tutt and his efforts to be a hero in the Cobb County, Ga., community and strives to have the same effect through K4K.
“I love ‘Day In College.’ Kids, who are possibly in a tough situation financially, get a chance to go visit a college and they don’t have to pay anything out of their pockets and get the full college experience,” said Pettis.
Recently, Tutt has been working on a few more short term ideas he wants for K4K. He is working closely with the mayor of Acworth, Ga., in efforts to get funding for new K4K programs; he is planning to donate one of his older cars to the organization to do a rebuild with the children of the community; and he is also doing a Future Hero Awards system that will go out to the entire Cobb County, Ga., school system. So obviously his excitement for the future of K4K programs to grow and get better is recognizable.
A hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities and Tutt is a hero in the Cobb County, Ga., community. To find out more information about Kutz 4 Kids and the next events in your community, go to K4Kinc.com.
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