OKLAHOMA CITY - A new service at the Homeless Alliance is shaping up to be a big hit. The Rooted Barbershop just opened inside the day shelter Monday morning, with barbers volunteering their time to give clients a fresh look.

The barbers cut hair every day, but it is rare that their craft has such a big impact. Slots filled up fast on the first day.

“I don’t know if it’s going to elevate their status,” remarked barber Bruce Waight.

“It’ll get me a job!” Ronald McCray answered from the chair.

The smiles said it all, with a new outer look that changes their outlook.

“It’s going to boost my self-esteem, make me feel better about myself” McCray said.

Waight has been dropping in to cut hair at the Homeless Alliance periodically for years.

“I was just drawn to give back in this way,” the barber said.

Waight recently decided to create the Hair Collective, a group of local barbers and cosmetologists who will rotate to operate Rooted, Monday through Friday.

“I’m able to bring my students here and give back, show them that being a part of the community is how we grow as a community,” owner of the Hair Café College David Threatt said.

For Threatt, the mission is personal.

“I’m also a survivor of a suicide attempt about 16 years ago,” he said. “So in a lot of ways I connect with a lot of people who deal with depression who have given up hope in some way.”

Sen. George Young (D-Oklahoma City) is encouraged to see constituents in need getting a leg up on success.

“I think it will add another level of inspiration to these people to say, not only am I trying to get my feet back on the ground, but I’m looking good as I do it,” Young said.

Each person at the Homeless Alliance has their own story.

“I had a brain aneurysm last year, something not a lot of people survive from, so I don’t think I’m really supposed to be working,” McCray said.

In the chair, though, they all agree. Seeing their new selves in the mirror is a reflection of the future.