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.

Literacy O’Neil’s Barbershop hosts a Little Free Library this colorful youth-created bookshelf is regularly stocked with used and new books and accessible to the barbershop and greater community. Over 4000 books for all ages have been re-homed through this initiative. The 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, BIPOC authors and illustrators.  Click here to access the complete book database.  449 Book Club is a free program for participants who attend in our monthly haircut for reading program. Students receive new books each month to read, take home and create a personal library collection.

Saturday Programs In 2019 Line4Line opened the BackSpace and a studio workspace and home of Line4Line’s Community Lending Library. Open on during business hours and on Saturdays for drop in creative and learning support programs. The Backspace is also available for use by community organizations upon request.

Workforce  & Mentoring To empower teens, Line4Line offers a variety of programs to engage youth in skill building, mentoring, job training while providing valuable paid and intern work experience.   This program is open to middle and high school students and provides real skills, along with hands-on work experience. Click here to apply.

Community Education Projects  In 2017 Line4Line received funding to create  three large scale public art murals  by Chicago based artists Rahmin Statik and Cujo-Dah at the Barbershop complex which celebrate reading, Black books and Black role models. In 2019 Line4Line released Clip Tips, a series of six videos featuring a puppet, barbers and community members discussing tough topics facing youth in a playful manner. Images from this project were turned into Billboards which were placed around Baton Rouge to promote Black men and boys as readers.

In 2021 worked with the Conscious Kid organization to bring 2800 diversity focused books into 54 local elementary schools. This project promotes conversations around race, racism and resistance and to create greater access to BIPOC books within Baton Rouge. Partners for this project included the East Baton Rouge Parish School System; East Baton Rouge Parish Public Library and Knock Knock Children’s Museum. Click here for more details on this project including a list of all books, links to East Baton Rouge Parish Public Library online collection and activities.

In September 2021, Line4Line as part of Ebb & Flow Festival received a grant to bring artist Lenny Foster to create photos of Line4Line program which will be placed as billboards along I-10 creating two large scale public artworks that celebrate on reading.

Outreach In addition to providing Free Haircuts for reading in the East Baton Rouge Parish Public and Charter Schools, Line4Line attends school events and In 2021 Line4Line began developing a mobile outreach program to provides free haircuts for reading, wider access to books, hands on creative activities as well as academic and social/emotional support. This program will operate as a free pop-up throughout the year at community events.  

Curriculum Development 

Partnerships In 2020 Line4Line joined forces with Humanities Amped, Big Buddy and Front Yard Bikes as the Angel Coalition to establish the Youth City Lab, with the goal of creating a full service youth program facility in Mid-City providing young people with access to a variety of out-of-school programs under one roof. The group is currently raising funds to renovate a historic church on Government Street with the plans of opening for programming in summer 2021

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So be you - fully you - a show-stopping revue. Live your life in full color, every tint, every hue. -Matthew Paul Turner”