Cutting Hair and Changing Lives

Most people know and appreciate how hard it is to reintegrate into society after being in jail. They also recognize how hard it must be to find stable and rewarding work with such a mark on their past. Most people do not, however, try to solve these issues and offer solutions that are as unique and interesting as R&R Head Labs.

R&R Head Labs, founded by James Repenning in Denver, Colorado, is an innovative barbershop that integrates professional hair care with social impact, targeting the rehabilitation and reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals. Through a partnership with Colorado prisons and the support of the Colorado Department of Corrections, the program recruits inmates for barbering apprenticeships that provide immediate work opportunities and a path to licensure.

The shop’s design is mindful of its employees’ past experiences, avoiding certain colors and arranging barber chairs to minimize potential triggers. Key to the project’s success is Charles Smith, a former inmate who now leads recruitment and reentry efforts, emphasizing the critical role of stable employment in preventing recidivism. R&R Head Labs not only focuses on providing jobs but also creates a welcoming and inclusive environment, aiming to expand its unique model to other cities.

Reading Recommendations for 2024

Book lovers are always looking for more recommendations – and there are certainly many places to get those ideas. If you’re resolved to enjoy more literature in 2024 than you might have in 2023, here are some ideas.

  1. Goodreads: Goodreads is a great resource where people share their favorite book titles and write reviews of books that they have read. They have a yearly contest as well for their collective favorite books, and this list could be a nice place to start for 2024. The contest is broken into many categories including fiction, historical fiction, romance, best new writer, etc.
  2. CNN book list recommendation: This is a fun list that includes a smattering of suggestions from musicians, authors, photographers, film directors and even a Miss Universe. It’s worth a peek.
  3. Social media: There are many accounts across social media platforms that people have exclusively dedicated to their love of reading. TikTok has a section called BookTok where people post short videos about their love of books. Instagram has Bookstagram and other social channels have similar locations for book lovers to talk and share.

Whatever type of reading you enjoy, and however you want to learn more about reading, you’ll find great suggestions for the coming year. Expand your horizons with a book and get reading now!

The Best Podcasts of 2022

As 2022 comes to a close, we will certainly be seeing more and more lists of the best of the year. This may include the best movies, tv shows, places to visit and much more. One of the newer mediums on the market today is the podcast. People love a good podcast and today you can find one about just about any topic. You don’t have to listen to serious topics about business and finance; but can find stories, comedies, conversations, sports and much more.

Time Magazine‘s recent rating of the top 10 podcasts for 2022, written by Eliana Dockterman, includes everything from fiction to horror movies, tennis to cooking. It’s a great compilation of podcasts, albeit only one of a million recommendations! Check it out and see if you agree on these findings or have your own recommendations for even better podcasts to enjoy.

Say Goodbye to Heavy Backpacks

The final week of summer is always filled with last minute shopping, organizing school supplies, planning lunches, and so on. Often, both parents and students get caught up in the race of getting everything ready that one of the most important parts of school year prep can easily be forgotten – the backpack. No, I am not referring to the trendy logo or character design your child has been begging for, but rather the physical makeup of the bag and how much is going inside.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of about 7,500 schoolkids under the age of 19 were treated for injuries due to backpacks between 2017-2019.

The first step in preventing more incidents like these is to learn how to identify if there’s a problem.

Look out for the following signs that your child’s backpack is too heavy:

  1. Your child struggles when getting the backpack on and off.
  2. Your child leans forward or to the side when wearing the backpack.
  3. Your child’s arms or legs are tingly or numb.
  4. Your child has red marks on the shoulders.
  5. Your child experiences pain when carrying the backpack.

Experts have been trying to spread awareness regarding the impact carrying a heavy load can have on a child’s physical development. Dr. David Gentile, an osteopath physician, warns that wearing backpacks that are too heavy can change the natural curve of the spine and prevent the ability to maintain proper posture. He points out that while we have made significant progress in encouraging good ergonomic practices at work with quality office chairs, standing desks, etc., the same must be addressed among students. For the healthiest results, he recommends choosing a lightweight backpack with wide shoulder straps, and to ensure even weight distribution by wearing the bag on both shoulders.

The following are some additional tips offered by physical therapists regarding backpacks:

  1. Choose a lightweight backpack with wide shoulder straps, a waist belt, and multiple compartments.
  2. Ensure the backpack rests in the middle of the back, no more than 4 inches below the waist line.
  3. Limit the contents to no more than 10%-15% of the child’s body weight (e.g. A child who weighs 100 pounds should not carry a backpack that weighs more than 10-15 pounds).
  4. Distribute books and supplies among all the bag’s compartments, placing the heaviest items closest to the spine.

Keeping in mind the advice from the experts and knowing the warning signs should help families with a smoother back-to-school process. Best wishes for a successful school year!

The Journey of a Book: How Books Are Made

If you have a New York Times account, this is an absolute feast for the eyes and an incredible experience about how books are printed. It feels reassuring to know that, even in our technological age, some things are still done by hand and that there are still master craftspeople ensuring that we can all enjoy the weight and feel of an actual book.

Here is another fun video that shows the entire book printing process. Enjoy!

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