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Chicago barber mentors neighborhood kids

December 5, 2009 9:18:13 AM PST
"'Tis the season" for giving. But for one Chicago barber, the season of giving lasts all year long.Angelo Townsend is a mentor to the kids in his neighborhood and he has put a lot of kids on a better path in life.

Justin Allen, 17, is a Chicago public school nursing student. He is focused on a goal and owes everything - including his high grade point average to his barber and mentor Angelo Townsend. Townsend is the go to person for young people in the community.

"I would like everybody to know how good his character is. He's always there, he's always somebody to talk to no matter what time it is," said Justin Allen, Harlan Community Academy.

"I got wind he was going with the wrong crowd. I talked to him and told him he was not raised like that. I told him he knows better, you are a smart kid stay in school... the street is not the way to go," said Angelo Townsend, barber and mentor.

As part of a class project Allen wrote a letter about his mentor. In it he said: When I think of change - the first person that comes to mind is not President Obama. Instead I think of my neighborhood barber Angelo Townsend.

He called him a one man neighborhood watch.

Townsend said he was touched by the letter and it brought tears to his eyes when he read it.

"I am glad to know I made a mark in someone's life. Just that one small spark in someone's life that changed - means that I had some purpose while I was here," said Townsend.

Allen Townsend said the barber shop is a safe haven for youth in the community where they like to hang out.

"I make sure they do their homework and if it's late in the hour and the sun is going down, I make sure they get home safe," said Townsend.

The first thing people notice in the shop is the famous "Wall of Fame." This is where Townsend displays graduation pictures of almost 50 students he has mentored. Also posted are some of their notes to him.

"There have been multiple, multiple, multiple people he has mentored and that is just a small portion on the wall," said Justin Allen.

Many people in the neighborhood said Townsend is a hero and is a blessing. They view him as a man that has single-handedly helped the young people in the community.

"He has so much wisdom that he can hand out," said Justin Allen.

"It was like a mandate in my life to kind of give back to the youth," said Townsend.

Justin Allen said when he traveled overseas, Townsend donated a generous amount of money for his trip and he has done this for others.

Click here to read Justin Allen's letter.

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