Clippers help Flint youth navigate life lessons

FLINT, Michigan—Barber Dwayne Harrington of Park Place Hair Studio took a childhood lesson about good grooming from his stepfather and uses it to connect to youth across the city.

Harrington, a licensed barber for 20 years, facilitates How the Clippers Saved My Life program that mentors troubled youth to become productive members of their community and society. It’s a six- to twelve-week program that Harrington uses to teach barbering and coping strategies, practices that guided him out of the hard knocks he ran into as a young person.

“I was a kid from the projects of Chicago. I moved here when I was 6. I used to stay outside because I didn’t want to see the rats and roaches. I never called a man dad in my life. The people I did look up to were my uncles. They were all pimps and players and they sold drugs.”

After moving to Flint, Harrington grew up in an Evergreen-Regency townhome. A product of his environment, by age 16 he was robbing people, but it was his stepfather, Calvin Banks Sr. who showed him a way to constructively harness his restless energy.

Calvin had odd side jobs like car tinkering and cutting hair on 12th Street in the Howard Estates Apartment Complex. There were times when he encouraged Harrington to give the clippers a try and before long Harrington grew his own neighborhood clientele.

“Despite his hard upbringing, he kept the clippers in his hands and made a career out of it and it kept him out of the streets,” said Tiana Harrington, Harrington’s wife and business partner. “That’s how the clippers saved his life. He took the clippers. He got a job and started making other people feel good.”

After attending barber school, Dwayne “Wayne the Barber” Harrington would become the owner of Park Place Hair Studio alongside his wife Tiana Harrington. He and his wife have co-owned Park Place Hair Studio for the last six years. Park Place Hair Studio was originally located at 4236 Miller Road in the Park Place Plaza, across from Pirate’s Park, in Flint. Recently, the business was renamed Park Place Hair Studio, LLC and was relocated to 3725 S. Saginaw St., Suite 103 with a grand re-opening in February.

The studio has allowed them to branch out in their community service by offering haircuts to those in need in partnership with Carriage Town Missions, Baker College, and Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce Job Fair. Every year, the Harringtons, along with Z92.7 FM radio station, sponsors a large back-to-school rally, in which they offer free haircuts, free hair shampoos and styles, free backpacks, and free school supplies. Most of all, the Harringtons were able to launch How the Clippers Saved My Life program in early 2019 at Job Corp.

For 2020, the Harringtons are in talks to bring the mentorship program to Boys and Girls Club and Way Academy, a charter school on Kearsley Street Feb. 24.

“It’s us. We have done it together, but we want to thank all the stylists that work at Park Place as a team to help us in our community endeavors as well as our family,” said Tiana Harrington. “ The stylists have helped us in every community event, and our family is our No. 1 support. So, we love to give back and help our community,”

For more information on How the Clippers Saved My Life mentorship program, call 810-441-6026.

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Read more articles by Tanya Terry.