Barber receives award for his youth mentoring efforts

A Windsor Mill barber recently received the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Baltimore County for his mentorship work. WBAL-TV 11 News spoke with Joseph Benn about his passion for helping young people. and they kind of get thrown away, I see potential in them,” Benn said. Benn, 37, is a master barber and owner of a hair salon in Windsor Mill. He is known throughout the city for his mentorship of young people. He gives many of them their first job — sweeping and cleaning the store. “It’s a good place for them to learn from a group of experienced people from diverse backgrounds. I try to give them all the skills they need to be young and productive people in the company,” said Benn. “Sometimes their parents send them to him for advice if their child is going down the wrong path. Others find him on his own like Donald Wilson, now 24. He met Benn when he was 10 years old and living in foster care. They weren’t doing everything they were supposed to, so I felt like I had to take care of myself,” Wilson said. He’s been working at the barber shop ever since. “He helped me learn how to develop a work ethic, helps me with literally everything,” Wilson said. Benn said he considers these kids his own.” A lot of them are 13, 14, 15, so coming in and getting that guidance is something that helps them in their transition to adulthood. I keep still relationships with all of them because they come back and see me because then they’re on the next step as young adults and they still need that extra guidance,” he said. In addition to mentoring, Benn hosts food drives, sponsors the local baseball league, and distributes school supplies each year. I was a troubled child and I know what I needed to try to be that as my way of giving back to young people. I’m just watching that instead of sitting around complaining about doing something, so if I contribute to the next generation, I consider that makes it better,” Benn said.

A Windsor Mill barber recently received the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Baltimore County for his mentorship work.

WBAL-TV 11 News spoke with Joseph Benn about his passion for helping young people.

“Kids who seem to be shunned, and they kind of get rejected, I see potential in them,” Benn said.

Benn, 37, is a master barber and owner of a hair salon in Windsor Mill. He is known throughout the city for his mentorship of young people. He gives many of them their first job – sweeping and cleaning the store.

“It’s a good place for them to learn from a group of experienced people from diverse backgrounds. I try to give them all the skills they need to be productive young people in society,” said Benn.

Sometimes their parents refer them to him for advice if their child is heading down the wrong path. Others find it all alone like Donald Wilson, now 24 years old. He met Benn when he was 10 and living in foster care.

“I walked in, I was getting my hair cut. I picked up the broom, I actually needed a job. I was taking care of myself, so I was being taken care of, but they weren’t doing everything what they were supposed to do, so I felt like I had to take care of myself,” Wilson said.

Since then, he has been working at the hairdressing salon.

“He helped me learn how to build a work ethic, literally helps me with everything,” Wilson said.

Benn said he considers these children his own.

“A lot of them are 13, 14, 15, so coming and getting that advice is something that helps them in their transition to adulthood. I still maintain relationships with all of them because they come back and see me because they’re on the next step as young adults and they still need that extra guidance,” he said.

In addition to mentoring, Benn organizes food drives, sponsors the local baseball league and distributes school supplies each year.

“I remember myself. I was a troubled kid and I know what I needed. I try to be that as my way of giving back to young people. I just watch that instead of sitting around complaining , so if I’m contributing to the next generation, I consider that makes it better,” Benn said.

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