Line4Line is a creative literacy nonprofit organization in Baton Rouge, La. established in 2016. What began as several barbers volunteering their time to give young men a fresh cut if they read a book aloud during their time in the barber chair has evolved and expanded into other creative spaces, in and outside of the classroom.
HAIRCUTS FOR READING Over the past seven 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 aloud 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.
OUTREACH: Literacy and Art Programming Line4Line launched full-time outreach services in the summer of 2021 to provide our signature creative literacy art programs to organizations across the Capital Area. We provide all of the supplies and teaching for a plethora of STEAM activities designed for different age levels. Our curriculum development team can also design custom lessons tailored to the needs of teachers. The Gardere Initiative, East Baton Rouge Housing Authority, 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Charlie’s Place are just some of the local organizations that that have benefited from our services.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: High School Barbering Program – In 2020/21 Line4Line’s piloted a successful program at Capitol High School which introduced students to the art and business of barbering. Offered to 9-12 grades and embedded within the school campus the Line4Line team transforms a classroom into a vibrant barbershop where licensed instructor O’Neil Curtis teaches students the basics of barbering and owning a business. Designed for teens interested in a career in hair, the class introduces students to techniques and tools used in the industry while also providing an overview of how to secure a barber license, create a financial and marketing plan, find employment or open their own business. For more information on how to get your school involved call 225/954-7771.
MENTORING One of our longtime resident barbers recently shared his love for the bowling lanes with children by hosting a mentoring camp at All Star Lanes. He provided the campers with life skills alongside teaching them how to roll strikes and spares. Campers were even presented with their very own personalized bowling balls! We plan to add more barber-led mentoring programs including basketball, so stay tuned on our Instagram account @line4linebr. All programs are funded through grants and in-kind support. They are free of charge for children to participate.
LENDING LIBRARY With an in-house library consisting of more than 800 titles created for and authored by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), teachers and other program facilitators are encouraged to browse Line4Line’s book database and check out books for their classrooms. Line4Line is available to visit schools switch out titles as needed. Please click here to request a set of books for your classroom.
CHANGE THE NARRATIVE SCHOOL CURRICULUM Line4Line has designed a year-long creative literacy arts curriculum currently being piloted for kindergarten through 5th grade at Merrydale Elementary School in East Baton Rouge Parish. This curriculum uses books written by and about Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) to develop cultural awareness, understanding, support social emotional learning, and engage students to identify as readers. Each lesson includes a coordinating arts activity. Research shows that when students see themselves in what they read they are more engaged learners. When students learn through hands-on making it not only further strengthens concepts presented in books but provides opportunities for self-expression, reflection and discussion that support social emotional learning. Each lesson is aligned to grade level-appropriate student standards and is embedded with essential reading skills. The Change the Narrative pilot is funded in part by the Pennington Family Foundation.
YOUTH CITY LAB Line4Line joins forces with Front Yard Bikes, Humanities Amped and the Big Buddy Program as a partner in the Youth City Lab is a dynamic shared space of learning, connection, and creation to inspire and ground the worth & power of young people to realize themselves and transform the world. Click here to Read More about this project