AJ Styles Barber and Beauty
Salon in Oak Park promises good service “where the style is all about you.” Two
teenagers who worked at the salon through Youth Outreach Services (YOS) Summer Youth
Employment Program discovered style isn’t just about how you look, it also
about how you live your life.
Anthony Jones, a longtime resident, mentor and youth advocate in Chicago’s Austin community, owns AJ Styles. His personal mission is to help the young people of Austin understand the value of hard work through real life experiences.
“I believe that working at a
young age shapes you and it is incredibly important to embrace real life early
in the working field,” said Jones.
Jones made sure youth summer employees got lots of hands-on experience at AJ Styles.
Dezonya, a 15-year-old student from Chicago Bulls College Prep, says that thanks to her experience at AJ Styles, she is more confident about her future career as a cosmetologist.
“I liked that I learned a lot at AJ Styles and I was able to be hands-on with several clients,” said Dezonya. “I learned how to adapt and work with different types of people.”
Dezonya washed clients’ hair, learned about hair products and maintaining healthy hair and had a great time doing it. She hopes to secure a job during the school year based on her great experience at AJ Styles.
“It’s all about wanting to learn,” said Jones. “If a young person has a desire to learn, they will not only go far in the cosmetology field, they will go far in life.”
Jones vision from day one for AJ Styles is that it is a place of comfort with an atmosphere that makes everyone feel like they are home. He also wants his business to be a place to cater not only to comfort and style, but also to young people looking for a positive outlet and a place to learn.
“Working this summer for Youth Outreach Services helped me stay out of trouble and kept me busy,” said Dezonya. “I am able to add this experience to my resume and I know it will impress future jobs.”
Yule Kendricks, barber stylist at AJ Styles, was the lead of the Summer Youth Employment Program. He feels very fortunate to have talented young people on his team this year.
“For me, employing these young people this summer was pretty much like passing the torch down to the younger generation,” says Kendricks.
Through YOS’ Summer Youth Employment Program, more than 200 teenagers had a summer they’ll never forget. With a YOS mentor supporting them, the teenagers gained real work experience in professional workplaces around the Chicago area. It was a valuable chance to learn how to get and maintain a job, and the dedication it takes to earn a paycheck. The program is the result of a partnership with the City of Chicago, the Chicago Community Trust and numerous foundations and businesses.