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Patty Garza, Community and Family Resource Coordinator, South District

ayers barber2Human Services Specialist Stephanie Trujillo Ramirez, fondly known at Ayres House as Ms. TR, keeps constant lookout for ways to help the youth prepare for the working world.

With COVID limiting the youths’ ability to get out in the community, Ms. TR has had to think creatively over the past year. She recently reached out to a barber in the community to see about presenting to Ayres House after discovering that several of the Ayres youth were greatly interested in this possible vocation.

Lauren Ozuna, a barber at Bexar County Kutz, jumped at the opportunity to share her knowledge in the field. Several youth signed up for her virtual workforce development workshop and were treated to her thorough "Barber Career 101".

Ozuna gave an overvayers barber1iew of her experience attending Williams Barber College and obtaining her license. She worked hard, she said, and built on her skills as an independent contractor to become the manager of the barbershop after just five years. She gave a virtual tour of the barber shop, showing the tools, products and offering tips about the trade, and also answered questions from the youth.

She shared experiences about client interactions and the importance of safety for both barbers and clients. Some of her clients, she said, had even become barbers.

The youth’s eyes and smiles grew bigger as she talked about career earnings and business opportunities. One youth enthused, “I wasn’t really thinking about becoming a barber, but that sounds pretty legit!”

At the end of the presentation, Ozuna encouraged the young men to follow their dreams and career aspirations. They can make it “out here,” she stressed, if they work hard and connect their skills to a trade.

She spoke frankly to them about how she understands the appeal of “easy illegal activity” money, but she showed that a barber career can be lucrative and really is “legit” with none of the worries that come with illegal activities.

The youth greatly appreciated hearing from someone in the barbering trade and immediately asked for more virtual tours about other trades and other career-building programming.

Photos: Youth listen to the virtual presentation (upper right); Ozuna spoke from the barbershop (lower left).