Justin Jackson: The Recovery Barber

The word “barber comes from the Latin word “barba”, meaning beard. Historically a barber was a member of a community most respected and considered a medicine man or a priest, and their daily functions included much more than what we consider barbering today.

In the past, barbers were also surgeons and dentists. Going way back to the time of the Romans, Greek colonies introduced barbering in Sicily around 296 B.C. and barber shops quickly became popular hubs for daily news and gossip. A routine morning visit to the “tonsor” became a part of the daily routine, being as important as a visit to the public baths, and a young Roman’s first shave, a “tonsura”, was an essential part of his coming-of-age process. Later on in history during the Middle Ages, they assumed the title of “barber-surgeons” when they unified with the medical surgeons of the time, and when a barber finished an operation, he would wrap the bloody bandages around a pole. That is the origin of the red swirled barber pole. When the barbers and surgeons went their separate ways, the barbers specialized in their own talents but kept their swirled barber poles as a remnant of the past. The pole still consists of red and white, or red, white and blue strips. Red for blood, white for bandages and blue for veins.

Introducing: Master Barber Justin Jackson

Justin Jackson has worked at high-end salons and barbershops since graduating at the top of his class from the Hairdressing Program at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, BC. After completing his education, he worked under award-winning stylists and barbers such as Kiyomi Shulz, Josh Dewall, and the prestigious Schorem Barbier.

“The eternal saying, ‘look good, feel good,’ rings true with me. Over the years I’ve found that with something as simple as a good haircut, a person’s day can be changed for the better. I offer a fresh shave, a haircut, and a set of ears. I bring this – and more – to my work with clients at Together We Can.”

Justin is now offering his services to first-stage and second-stage clients, staff members, and alumni of our facility on the weekends to not only help someone feel good about themselves but use the tools of conversation and meaningful relationship-building by having a client know that when they sit down, they’re getting more than simply a cut. He charges $25.00 for his high-quality professional work, however many newcomers cannot afford the cost and so the charge is often waived. TWC’s Alumni Association is currently involved with helping to pay for the cuts and styling of the clients, however money is the last thing considered when sitting down in Justin’s chair. Being new in the program and experiencing the emotions of uncomfortably interacting with new people, you should know that this barber service is open and ready to anyone willing who is in first-stage and second-stage. Right now he is only working weekends.

When a client sits down, they have the opportunity to talk about recovery and ongoing maintenance of their personal program with Justin who has years of experience in being clean and living his life to the fullest. As a Master Barber, Justin not only acknowledges his trade as a medium for friendship and intimacy, but a bond that can be built to help men in early recovery expand their knowledge base, their circle of friends, and network with him to help guide them to reach their goals. Instead of the usual banter with your Main Street barber, Justin talks recovery and is eager to help anyone who needs a good listener. He is TWC’s unofficial “medicine man” of recovery with a pair of scissors in one hand, a comb in the other, and a welcoming smile on his face. He is a proud Alumni and TWC considers him a great asset to the TWC community.

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“Conversational recovery is imperative to my growth and I truly believe it helps others just as much. I’ve developed the ability to listen over my career, to be an ear for a guy no matter how good or how bad his situation is. I’ve also learned how to provide insight into situations by offering suggestions or how to better a situation completely.”


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