From Health Bar to Barber Shop: A Life-Changing Journey

Meet Nick! Nick is a 2020 GiGi University graduate and has been honing his career skills in GiGi’s Genesis Health Bar ever since. Through his time at Genesis, Nick has shown that he shines brightest when he gets to help children. He will quickly greet our youngest customers and offer them toys to keep them occupied. He enjoys being around people and brightening everyone’s day with his calm and caring demeanor. Nick never dreamed that his time at Genesis Health Bar would prepare him for a barber shop!

Meet Taylor! Taylor, a licensed Barber with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and more than four years’ experience in the ABA field as a Registered Behavioral Technician, is the founder of Sensory Cuts. Sensory Cuts is a one-of-a-kind program that has been methodically and specifically designed to create a more comfortable hair cutting atmosphere for individuals who struggle with sensory processing disorders. When Taylor reached out to us to extend an opportunity for a GiGi University graduate to come job shadow and be a shop assistant, we knew the perfect person, but didn’t know just how perfect!

When we approached Nick’s mom about an opportunity where Nick would be able to assist in a barber shop, his mother jumped at the chance and stated that he grew up in a salon! Nick’s great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother were all salon owners and his grandmother would take him to the salon and he would play in a crib while she worked. When Nick’s grandmother passed away, he lost his voice. He became more introverted and began speaking in a much softer tone.

We quickly scheduled a time for Nick and Taylor to meet at Sensory Cuts and Nick’s mother stated with watery eyes that his grandma had a hand in this opportunity. During the first meeting with Nick and Taylor, she showed him the utmost respect, asking what he wants from this opportunity, asking what he likes about haircuts, what he doesn’t like about haircuts, showed him the barbershop, and explained the countless opportunities for him to shine and grow. Nick did not stop smiling from ear to ear for 30 minutes and his eyes were filled with pride and excitement. After scheduling two days a week to start off, we parted ways with Taylor.

In the parking lot, Nick, Nick’s mother, and Holly (Executive Director of GiGi’s Playhouse Fort Wayne) relived the magic that just happened. Without realizing, he began speaking in an audible tone and saying how excited he was to get started next week! After hearing an audible tone for the first time in years, his mother grabbed Nick’s shoulders and proudly said, “There’s my Nick!! Where have you been?” We cannot wait to continue to follow Nick on his journey and watch him be a cut above the rest.  

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