Windsor barber lines up future, shares story with Kennedy high school students

Kennedy student Ashreff El-Hassan wishes his lunch hour was a highlight like it was Friday.

“They gotta do this more,” he said.

El-Hassan was one of many that drifted through the school cafeteria to watch Mohsin Khan offer free haircuts while sharing his message of hope to students.

“Stay on the straight path. Do your work and you’ll be successful,” those are words he heard from Khan, who returned to his high school roots with scissors in hand offering to clip out the negativity felt by students.

“I got myself in a lot of trouble,” said Khan.

The 19-year old was rolling with the wrong crowd but he got a wakeup call shortly after being stabbed.

Between cuts he told students, “what I have to realize is that I’m making all the mistakes in life and I’m gonna flip it, make it a positive.”

“I realized my life is nothing good right now and I’m not doing anything good for myself. I turned 18 realizing okay, I gotta pick myself up and become somebody better for the community.”

Khan leaned on his barbering skills to help himself climb out of his shell. He recently started a cleaning company and is a business student at St Clair College.

His story was inspiring to Ayah Khanafer, the school’s board liaison.

“Look where he is now even if there was rough stuff in his past. He made it out and he’s influencing the younger generation to do the same which I think is great,” Khanafer said.

Kahn didn’t have a role model and wishes he had someone to tell him his life was like a bad haricut.

“I wanna be that person I wanted to have,” he said.

Hadi Saleh was all ears while getting his hair tapered.

“In two years I gotta start working and see what I’m gonna do in life,” said the grade 11 student. “This message is helping me get through.”

School principal Kyle Berard heard Khan’s story before allowing him to address the school community.

“I want kids to hear the message that, look beyond high school. Do good things now so that you can get ready to do better things later,” he said. “That’s what we always tell kids.”

Joanna Conrad, executive director of Youth Diversion, was glad to hear about Khan’s turnaround.

“I’m proud of him without even knowing him,” she said.

Youth Diversion helps youth at risk from experiencing an intervention moment as Khan did.

“To hear from someone else ‘I see something in you. You can be something better than you are doing in this moment’ that can go a long way,” Conrad said.

“We want them to understand you’re responsible for your own fate so how are we going to help you make choices to get you to the best place possible.”

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