"When kids go back to school, it builds up their self-esteem," Hakeem Adeyemi said. "When they go back to school, they're just like any other kid that went to the salon."
Adeyemi is the owner of Seba Products and Hair Salon on Fondren Road in southwest Houston. On Sunday, the salon held its annual "The Best Way to Give is Back" event. The community initiative offers free haircuts and styling for children ages 5-16.
The recipients of this gift are heartbreakingly honest about how much it means to them.
"I stay in a shelter and we don't usually get this," student Leslie Johnson said. "And this is a blessing. This is good. I like this."
It's a tradition that started at the Seba salon after Hurricane Katrina.
Giving back to the community is reason enough for barber and stylist Bruce Barnes to lend a hand.
"It's refreshing to know that people do appreciate your gift, your volunteering," Barnes said.
"I really appreciate it. I have four kids," parent Tanisha Franklin said. "This is convenient, and I appreciate the work that they're giving back to the kids."
It takes an army of volunteers -- not just from the Seba salon, but from others in Houston and surround areas -- to get the results they're looking for.
"They told us this morning, 'get up. We're going to go get [your] hair done,' and we was happy," Johnson said," We was real happy."
In addition to hair services, a limited supply of food, clothing and supplies were also distributed. More than 5,000 area children have been helped, to date, by this annual back-to-school haircut and styling event.