HISTORY OF HAVE SHEARS WILL TRAVEL
Over the span of three decades, my passion for hairdressing has led me to reach out to those who have neither opportunity nor resources to obtain them in a traditional salon or barber shop. Thus, the formation of this nonprofit.
I obtained my license in 1978 under the tutelage of Jack Barrett, Director of Modern Barber College in one of the most undesirable parts of downtown Houston. It was not unusual in those days to step over homeless people near the front door. I chose this College, not for its location, but because it was the only one I could afford.
At the time, I attended Church of the Redeemer Episcopal Church and many were already the recipients of my services, but they now flocked through the doors of this modest barbering school to give me their love and support. Many Saturdays, those whom I did not know would line up for haircuts or wait on my empty chair to await my hairdressing skills seeing how others from my Church had come to see me. I recall the first shave I ever gave was to a homeless man that was passed out at the front door. Mr. Barrett decided he was a good candidate for my first shave and proceeded to put him in my chair and spray deodorizer around my station to mask the smell. It was rewarding for me that I did a good job and the man was refreshed, clean-shaven and grateful for my service.
I only worked in a shop for a few years until I had children because at that time the shop I worked in did not offer healthcare and we needed that for our family. I utilized secretarial skills and landed employment in the oil and gas industry where I worked for many years. In February 2015, I learned that our office was closing its doors due to the downturn in the oil and gas industry where I'd worked for over 17 years. Remembering Bishop Doyle’s call to mission while attending Diocesan Council, I felt prodded by God to move on an idea I’d had for many years, Have Shears Will Travel.
I’ve kept my license current all these years and have done hundreds of haircuts for family, friends, elderly and those whose physical impairments made make it impractical to go to a barber shop or hair salon. A particular need some 30 years ago still sticks in my mind. A little nine year old girl name Kayla who attended Redeemer was fighting bone cancer. One day her mom called and said, “Kayla wants you to cut her hair.” I arrived to see her straggly hair—remnant from chemotherapy. I proceeded to sit her in a chair and do the best I could. She asked me to carry her to a mirror to see (she’d had one leg amputated from the cancer) and when she saw herself began to sing, “I feel pretty, oh so pretty….”
When I went to petition the Texas Board to allow hairdressing services within the confines of a person’s home, I used this example of need. The guidelines were changed and now allow stylists may attend to those unable to get to a salon or barber shop and I was grateful they agreed to do so and that I was able to make a difference.
I’m not a doctor, but I believe hairdressing can be a healing experience. It has never failed that when I’ve attended to others, particularly elderly persons, such as my mother-in-law whose hair I did for years, their spirit is uplifted just to be touched and loved and cared for in a personal way. I pray this ministry touches many with the love of Jesus.
Already the doors have opened to serve clients for many charitable ministries such as: Angela House, Bering Omega, Hope Impacts, Family Time, Family Promise, Humble Area Assistance Ministries, Lord of the Streets, Covenant House, Mission of Yahweh, Star of Hope, SEARCH, Cullen Adult Day Care, Santa Maria Hostel, Harbor Hospice, Salvation Army Family Residence, Sally's House, St. Joseph's House, Open Door Mission and Kingwood Hospital Rehab.
It took the IRS less than 30 days to approve our 501c3 status and we welcome your donations great and small. Our initial vision, to purchase a mobile unit to convert into a mobile hair unit is becoming reality with the United Way 2015 grant along with grants from The Medallion Foundation, Inc., National ECW and Daughters of the King, The Elkins Foundation, St. Philip Presbyterian Church Central Mission Endowment Fund, Way Engineering, as well as hundreds of individual donations. We plan to have this first vehicle up and running December 2016. With the addition of the mobile hair unit, we will be able to serve The Beacon, Loaves and Fishes, Crossroads, Church Under the Bridge and other agencies that request an off site vehicle for serving their clients. We envision having multiple mobile units in multiple cities in Texas, then expand to other cities as we are able.