CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A Free Hoodie and Haircut Day event was held in Champaign on Monday as part of one duo’s mission to inspire kids in Central Illinois.
Rinyard Wilson and Tony Odom put on the event for the second year in a row. The two men run the Immediate Affective Change Mentor Group together.
“The focus of this event is to establish good relationships with the community, with the children and their parents,” Wilson said. “These events we do go throughout the whole year. We want to engage in the community. We want to curb violence.”
He said it’s just one way he’s able to connect with the younger generation and help them evolve into young men. It’s also a way for parents to save some money with rising haircut prices and kids growing out of clothes quickly.
“My mom doesn’t have to spend that much money. Instead she can just get a free haircut for us,” said Brian Dunbar, who received one of the many free haircuts.
“It’s a good thing. I mean, most definitely, especially for someone like me at times,” said Dunbar’s mother, Ashley Dudley, “because, like I said, I got four boys, so it was very helpful.”
She said she’s thankful Wilson and Odom are investing in the community.
Wilson said the goal is to encourage kids to be themselves and try not to feel so much pressure to fit in.
“We live in a generation where it’s a lot of copy-cats and we have the blind leading the blind as far as they want to see,” he said. “[They want to] emulate stuff, the rappers they see off the TV.”
Wilson said he had people that looked out for him when he was younger to help him succeed. Now, he wants to create those same opportunities for others.
“I want to be that that aid in their life that they can go to, listen to, and give the right information to, knowing that we actually have real love and care for them.”
Wilson said they are also planning a mentor breakfast and brunch soon. They are still working on the details.