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Ames Barbershop Owner Gives Free Haircuts to YSS Youth

Joe Evans always wanted to help youth in his community.

“Once I knew about YSS and I knew the kids, I just kind of felt like there was a connection between me and them and I was in a similar situation to them,” Joe says. “I’ve always wanted to give back to them.”

Joe has been a barber for around 16 years. His love for cutting hair developed when he was young. His mother owned a salon so he always had access to clippers and would practice on family members.

“I used to look up to the barbers at the shop,” Joe says. “They were very self-sufficient, they just seemed like they had their lives under control.”

Originally from Philadelphia, Joe came to Ames when he was 20 to visit his father. After telling his dad his career plans, his father told Joe about a school for barbers in Des Moines.

In 2012, Joe opened his barbershop in Ames and in 2014 changed the name to Campustown Cuts when it moved to its current location at 126 Welch Ave. Now Joe has opened CTC Barber Academy, where YSS youth in the residential treatment program get their hair cut—for free.

“One of the reasons I opened this school was for it to be affordable. To me, I feel like that’s another way of giving back,” Joe says.

At the Academy, Joe enjoys being able to give advice and interact with YSS youth, giving them a space to feel heard and comfortable. Joe’s passion for helping youth comes from a place of experience.

“I literally used to be them, I’ve been in trouble and went to a similar program. I just want to show them that their situation is not permanent.”

Both Joe’s wife and mother worked at YSS and the three of them have always hoped to give back to the community and provide a space for youth the way YSS does.

“When they worked at YSS, we always said if we ever had the opportunity to open up something for youth just like YSS, we will.”

CTC Barber Academy is doing a back-to-school drive Aug. 15-19, where he and his barbers will be doing free cuts all week for local youth in Ames.

“I like being a part of something bigger than myself. I just want to be able to pay it forward, where I can say I was part of that. That’s what brings me joy and what I would like to be remembered for.”

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