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Kingwood stylists putting their skills to work for others
Have Shears Will Travel bringing portable hair care services to those who are unable to get there on their own
By Leslie Williams-Dennis
Published 9:06 am, Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Houston Chronicle/ Week of August 13-19, 2015
Inside the back of Barbara Goodson's car lies a five-foot mirror, a collection of hair combs and a large supply of no-rinse shampoo.
Goodson, a Lease/Contract Supervisor at Clayton Williams Energy in Kingwood, has been styling hair since the age of 12.
Yet she decided to turn her passion into a full-fledged ministry after learning her employer, an oil and gas company, will soon be closing its doors.
Have Shears Will Travel is a non-profit organization that provides hair care services to individuals unable to get to a salon due to physical impairment, lack of transportation, or financial means.
Goodson, 62, formed the organization in March and already has a full schedule of potential clients.
With agencies such as the Santa Maria Hostel, Open Door Mission and the Star of Hope Mission in Houston, Goodson said she is taken aback by the sheer volume of those who truly need her services.
Three times a week, Goodson travels to shelters across the Houston area, providing haircuts and styling services to individuals free of charge.
"I feel like I'm living two lives," Goodson said. "Tuesday, Thursday I'm this analytical person that sits behind a computer all day. Monday, Wednesday, Friday I am out there touching people, reaching people, really doing my passion."
Goodson, a resident of Kingwood, first obtained her hairstyling license in 1978, and cut hair professionally until she began working in the oil and gas industry in 1982 to obtain healthcare for her family.
For the past 35 years, Goodson has kept her license current, often cutting hair for friends, family members, the elderly and others who were unable to go to a salon.
After learning the fate of her job from her current employer, Goodson quickly took on the task of establishing a ministry, and looked to her Episcopalian faith to guide her in the right direction.
Goodson, a member of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Atascocita, formed a Board of Directors for the ministry comprised of herself, her priest, Father David Nelson, church member Charlie Tyler and Bob Schorr who works for the Episcopal Dioceseof Texas.
Then, Goodson set out to sign on as many agencies as possible.
Goodson said the only thing she asks for when working at an agency is a small swivel secretary chair and an outlet to plug in her appliances.
Often, she must work in spaces that do not have a sink to rinse out hair care products.
"I treat every single person that sits in my chair like a paying client," Goodson said, adding that she often distributes hair supplies to her clients so they can continue proper hair maintenance.
Since the inception of the ministry in March, Goodson said she has spent $3,000 in transportation costs and hair supplies, most of which she has paid directly out of her own pocket.
Goodson said that Have Shears Will Travel provides an average of 300 free haircuts each month.
A typical haircut for males at a salon can range between six and 40 dollars, Goodwin said.
Goodson said she is currently in search for donations from the community so she can serve as many people as possible. Her goal is to one day have an RV that would serve as a traveling hair salon.
To accommodate the increasing demand from services from her ministry, Goodson has enlisted the help of David Taul, a stylist in Houston to work alongside her on a full-time basis.
Taul, 53, is a former salon owner and currently works as a licensed recovery support specialist at the Open Door Mission in Houston.
He said many of the patrons he comes across are dealing with substantial issues, including homelessness, mental illness, addiction, and family members who are separated due to imprisonment.
Taul, who also works as a chef with Spectrum Catering and Events, said he himself is a recovering addict and feels a new haircut helps empower his clients to move in a positive direction.
"These are individuals on a pathway upward. They're not going to be our clients forever," Taul said. "We're not in this to keep a clientele base. We're here to show them some love, to show them that we care and to show them that they too can be handsome or beautiful and walk the path from that point."
In addition to giving haircuts, Taul said he also provides marketing and recruitment services for the ministry and hopes to promote his new drive, "Share the Tip - Give a Clip" to attract corporate sponsors.
Taul said his goal with "Share the Tip – Give a Clip" is to get corporations such as Fantastic Sam's, Great Clips, Visable Changes and Sports Clips for Men to support the ministry by matching every dollar that their clients donate.
Goodson said she is continuously finding new agencies in need of her services.
At the Harbor Hospice in Baytown, Volunteer and Bereavement Coordinator, Wanda Lecourias has been working with Have Shears Will Travel to assist terminally-ill patients who are unable or prefer not to leave their homes.
On June 24, Lecourias and Goodson traveled to residences in Baytown, Cove and Wallisville, Texas. Goodson assisted four patients, two of which received haircuts from their bedside.
"Sometimes patients are not able to get out and go to the beauty shop and get their hair cut, so this is actually a donated service that is a blessing," Lecourias said.
Lecourias said that the goal at the hospice is to keep patients in their own homes as long as possible and give them the quality of life they deserve, even though they're terminal patients.
Harbor Hospice has 40 locations throughout the state of Texas, including inpatient facilities located at 11990 Kirby Drive in Houston and at 2450 N. Major Drive in Beaumont.
Lecourias said the hospice in Baytown strives to bring professionals to the patient where they reside, with an emphasis on helping the patient and family make the most of each day.
"As ladies, we feel better when our hair looks good. Ms. Goodson is very quick with what she does. We spend time with the caregiver, the family members while we're helping the patient," Lecourias said.
Dr. Joyce Raynor, Women's Program Director for the Mission of Yahweh in Houston, said that Goodson has been cutting hair at the agency for the past two months.
Mission of Yahweh, a homeless shelter for women and children, provides emergency and transitional housing to more than 100 individuals on a continuous basis, Raynor said.
A week before Goodson comes, those interested in receiving a haircut register by signing up on a roster put out by the agency staff.
Every time Goodson comes, she provides at least 10 haircuts, Raynor said.
Raynor said that those who stay at the shelter do not always resemble the stereotypical image of homelessness that is portrayed in society.
"Everyone that's homeless, it's not because they're on drugs or their not willing to work or things of that nature," Raynor said. "We have thriving women, some of them come here already working. Some have lost jobs, they get right back out into the workforce and then you're going to have some that are struggling in other areas, but we offer enough life skills programs, social services to help get them back on track."
Still, many people at the shelter either do not have the type of income to afford to pay the prices at professional hair salons, Raynor said.
Raynor said that by providing hair care services, women and children are given the opportunity to have something different.
Raynor said she notices a difference in how the women present themselves after they have had their hair freshly cut and styled.
"Anytime someone comes in and does things of this nature for them, it definitely puts a smile on their face. It lifts their esteem," Raynor said. "Some of them will put on their makeup in advance. Some of them will put on their makeup right after they've had their hair done. It shows in their smiles and what they do."
Have Shears Will Travel also works with Angela's House, Covenant House, Family Time, Family Promise, Humble Area Assistance Ministries, Lord of the Streets, SEARCH and Salvation Army Family Residence.
Goodson said she is in search of licensed stylists who would like to contribute their services.
On August 15th, Have Shears Will Travel will provide free haircuts at the Star of Hope Mission and Thug Ministry Back to School Block Party at the MLK center in Houston and will also participate in "Look Good, Feel Good" with the Houston Police Department on August 23.
To make a donation with Have Shears Will Travel visit the organization's website at haveshearswilltravel.org or contact Barbara Goodson at email@example.com.