Line4Line is a unique community-based literacy program that seeks to close the achievement gap for African American boys in Baton Rouge; supports families in raising successful children; creates opportunities for youth that build self-esteem through a variety of engaging academic and creative enrichment programs; empowers and engages credible community mentors as change agents to strengthen community from within.
Haircuts for Reading Over the past six years on the first Monday of each month O’Neil’s Barbershop opens its doors to provide boys 3-13 with free haircuts in exchange for reading books along with mentor led and reading specialist support, STEAM activities and a healthy dinner. In 2016 the program expanded to serve public elementary and middle schools. These programs have provided over 3500 free haircuts and given out over 10,000 books read.
Book Access O’Neil’s Barbershop added a Little Free Library for the first Line4Line program, located directly outside the door, colorfully painted and regularly stocked with quality used and new books and accessible to the barbershop as well as wider Eden Park community 24/7 over 4000 books for all ages have been rehomed through this initiative.
The Line4Line Community Lending Library features over 850 books, from Board Books to Biographies, for all reading levels and interests, focusing on diversity, specifically Black history, Black achievements, Social Equity authors, illustrators. A curated monthly selection of books are placed in the barbershop available to read while waiting for a haircut, as well as a Barbershop Bookshelf for young and emerging readers. Line4Line’s complete book collection is available to borrow at the Line4Line Community Lending Library.
The 449 Book Club is a reading program for participants in our monthly haircut for reading program, who receive new books each month to read, take home and create a personal library collection.
Out-of-School In 2019 Line4Line renovated a program BackSpace and begin offering regular programs for youth as well as adults. Designed as a workspace/barber training studio with adjoining reading room, housing Line4Line’s Community Lending Library this space is open during the summer for a Free Summer Camps, on Saturdays for drop in creative-based programming, and afterschool for enrichment and academic support, and available for community groups in the evening.
Work & Mentor Development To engage and empower teens, Line4Line offers barber training and apprentice program and scholarship, as well as job opportunity training for youth to serving as mentors and connecting them with community organizations. This program is open to middle and high school students and provides real skills, as well as hands-on valuable life and work experience.
Change the Narrative Project An ongoing education campaign that seek to change the narrative around what success looks like for African American boys and men in our community. Projects include the creation of three large scale public art murals at the Barbershop complex which celebrate reading, Black books and relatable role models. Clip Tips, a series of six videos featuring a puppet, barbers and community members discussing tough relevant topics facing youth. Community Billboards, promoting reading and celebrating Black male mentors featuring Line4Line barbers and youth.