GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- Eight barbershops across the metro area are offering free haircuts this weekend as part of Operation Cease Fire, a grassroots campaign to curtail gun violence.
At one of the participating shops, Shear Kuttz on 71 Highway, barbers say they often act as counselors for young men.
This is the second year barbers and stylists have joined forces to encourage young people to come in for a clean look and some free advice that can turn their lives around.
"What we are doing is opening up these barber shops, giving mentor advice to some of these people who are coming in getting haircuts," said Ronell Bailey, organizer of Operation Cease Fire. "If you have a problem with any situation today, you can stop in any barbershop and talk to someone and we will show you a better way to handle your situation."
Barbers say they can often tell when something is troubling their regular customers. And often, relationships are built where a man may share a problem with his barber that he won't tell anyone else. Usually there's someone who's experienced a similar challenge in life who can offer guidance that doesn't involve grabbing a gun, or acting on emotion.
"I had a young man come in one time, he’s maybe 18, he was having difficulty with his dad," said Andre McCallop, owner of Shear Kuttz. "He said, 'Man 'Dre what can I do?' I gave him a little bit of advice and when he came back a couple of weeks later, he had some good news. He said, 'You know what 'Dre, whatever you told me it worked.'"
Last year there were only three barbershops part of Operation Cease Fire. But organizers say they did notice a difference, with fewer reports of bloodshed on the weekend of free haircuts and free advice.
Many barbers and stylists participating in the operation are parents themselves and they believe their efforts can help make the community a safer place for their children.
For locations and times of shops and salons participating in Operation Cease Fire go to: