Barber shop offers free haircuts for jobless

By Beth Kramer
Sun Times Media

Jackie Modas knows what it's like to unemployed and homeless. She had a hair salon for 27 years in Winthrop Harbor which folded about a decade ago after she could no longer afford to maintain it. She also lived there. She spent "a season" at her local PADS shelter. Now Modas' new Beach Park shop, Jackie's Barber Shoppe, is about to turn a year old. To mark that occasion, she has decided to offer free haircuts Sunday, June 24, to Tuesday, June 26, to anyone who is on public aid.

"I think can help people because I know how bad it can get," Modas, 56, said. “I think there’s a lot of people out there having hard times. Many people are on unemployment who haven't been on unemployment before."

The jobless rate for May 2012 in Lake County was 8.1 percent, according to U.S. Department of Labor. It was 8.4 percent in May 2011. Customers need to bring in documentation showing that they are on unemployment or public assistance, like a Link card, Modas said.

"My biggest goal is to make people believe in themselves and they get an education or a job and don't have to stay down," Modas said.

Modas has completed both barber college and beauty school, so she can do haircuts for men and women. She said this is the first time she has offered free haircuts.

"I'm planning to make this an annual event," Modas said.

She specializes in men's hair, and shaving heads and facial hair. The majority of her clients are walk-ins, she said. Modas is close to graduating from Columbia College of Missouri in Gurnee with a general studies major and sociology and business minors. She is exploring master's programs so she can become a clinical

"I want to be a psychologist so I can help people," Modas said