POPLARVILLE, Miss -- Pride, Respect, Class and Character, the Wildcat Way, was shown through Pearl River Community College’s Barbering and Cosmetology departments in Hattiesburg on Tuesday morning as students offered their services free of charge at The Fieldhouse for the Homeless.
“We at the Fieldhouse for The Homeless were truly blessed by PRCC’s Barbering and Cosmetology departments today,” Fieldhouse representative Cynthia Simmons said. “This morning, about 30 participants came to give free haircuts, washes, and for a few of the guys, braiding. They were all so polite and showed great respect for those who have been going through some very difficult situations in life and have sought refuge here at the Fieldhouse. We are extremely grateful just to be thought of today.
“Some of the guys haven’t had hair cuts in a very long time and were excited about the opportunity to look better on the outside while working through some things on the inside. With the cold weather bearing down on Hattiesburg, more people come here to stay warm, have coffee, and eat warm meals.”
The Fieldhouse is the hub of services for homelessness people in Hattiesburg/Pine Belt area and describes itself as a turning point, a central source of life-changing care. The Fieldhouse provides escape from heat or cold, a place to rest, access to bathrooms, to laundry, showers, job search, health, screenings, housing assistance, ID assistance and other services homeless men and women need to escape life on the street. The center also provides services such as case management, life skills classes, and bus tokens for work and medical appointments.
According to its website, The Fieldhouse has “taken an unflinching look at the human experience of homelessness and… are responding” by opening its doors to the public. The Fieldhouse’s goal is to make homelessness a season of life, not a way of life.
This is not the first time PRCC students have volunteered their time at The Fieldhouse. Pearl River’s Lady Wildcats basketball team also visited the residents for the fifth straight year before their season began and hope to continue this tradition for years to come.
PRCC student Isaiah McSwain worked with both The Fieldhouse and the cosmetology and barbering department to set up and organize the event.
The PRCC Cosmetology and Barbering students cut hair and trimmed beards as visitors shared stories of their past and hopes for their futures.
One service recipient, Carl, had just returned to Hattiesburg after serving his sentence. During that time he saw many young people imprisoned and hated to see opportunities and potential being wasted.
“It was almost like they couldn’t wait to get in there,” Carl said of the many 15-19 year-olds he encountered during his sentence. "We have a mouth to speak truth, hands to help show the way and prayer when we don't know what else to do.”
Pearl River Barbering Instructor Tyrone Mclaurin had the opportunity to speak with Carl while he was getting a trim.
“Only being home a month, with no vehicle to ride in, he is content with the fact that the PRCC family became the vehicle he needed to share his story,” he said. “This service opportunity was just one of the many ways to hear our ROAR.”
Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.