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Peacing Together: Macon nonprofit helps young men learn skills, make living as barbers

A Macon man is helping at-risk youth and former inmates re-enter society and support themselves with the help of some boxing gloves and hair clippers

MACON, Ga. — Last week in our Peacing Together report, we showed you how one Macon high school is working to keep teens in school and off of the street.

BACKGROUND: Peacing Together: Seeking solutions to youth violence in Central Georgia

LAST WEEK'S: Youth violence can cause loss of opportunity

But what about the youth who end up in the justice system and want to start over?

Your mother may have told you to not hit, but one Macon man is saying exactly the opposite. He's helping at-risk youth and former inmates re-enter society and support themselves with the help of some boxing gloves and hair clippers

"I kinda was a bad guy, you know, I took the role of being a bad guy at an early age," said professional boxer, Christian Brown.

He just wanted to fit in.

"When you come from the rough parts of Macon, you gotta be tough and if you wasn't tough, you wasn't accepted," he said.

That need for acceptance drew Brown down a path that came to a head when he turned 18. He spent five years in prison for criminal attempt to commit armed robbery.

After release, Brown faced a familiar problem, only this time is wasn't neighborhood acceptance. It was being re-accepted back into society -- no one would hire him.

Daude Harrell came from the same east Macon neighborhood as Brown.

"These are my family members that are dying, these are my family members who are being shot, sent to jail," said Harrell, the co-owner of Harrell's Barber Shop.

He grew up in this barbershop and also became a boxer -- two skills he puts to use at Barbers on Duty, a non-profit organization helping young men learn skills for life while making a living as a barber.

"Boxing is a skill, boxing is an art, being able to control your emotions and having a rhythm you know. Being able to discipline yourself, to push yourself harder than the next man," said Harrell.

"Barbering would be the best way to take care of me financially and my family financially while I still chase my dream of being a boxer," said Brown.

That's now achievable because one man gave him a haircut and a shot at a different life.

"If I wouldn't have found a person like that to come and just, you know, take his time out and invest his knowledge and his time and his money into me, you know, I would probably be sitting right now back in prison," said Brown.

Brown has a perfect 2-0 record in his professional boxing career. If you're interested in learning more about how you can get involved with Barbers on Duty, click here.


Peacing Together: Macon youth on what causes violence, what they've experienced

Peacing Together: Macon program helps at-risk adults with resume writing, life skills

We can't do this on our own, we need your help too. We'd like to invite you to take a brief survey on your thoughts on youth violence in your community.

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