Clary Sage College Barber Department
Paula Matthews has led the Barber Department since the program began six years ago. Originally housed as Oklahoma Technical College, Matthews helped develop curriculum for the Barber program, which found a new home on the campus of Clary Sage College in 2014.
In her role as Department Head, Matthews is more than a figurehead, she is in classrooms every day giving hands-on instruction, assistance and counsel to the students at Clary Sage College. Matthews and the rest of instructional team teach students the skills needed to be successful barber professionals including cutting, chemically treating and styling hair, shaving, trimming beards and mustaches, and sanitation.
The school’s barbershop is open to the public, so Matthews and her team are also able to instill good customer service in their students as they practice their newfound skills on real clients from the Tulsa community.
Matthews is passionate about the industry and training up new professionals to go into the community she loves – a love Matthews shows daily through tireless volunteer efforts.
For the past 13 years, Matthews has volunteered her time at John 3:16 Men’s Mission, provided free haircuts for the homeless, and given her time and services to the Laura Dester (emergency foster care) Shelter. She says she brings students with her when she can and invites them to take part in her weekend volunteering efforts when they’re able.
You know the old saying; it’s better to give than to receive. “This is so true!” exclaims Matthews.
“Giving back gives me an opportunity to tell people how the Lord has worked in my life,” she continued. “It reduces my stress and it sets a good example for my children and grandchildren.”
When asked why a free haircut can be so impactful to an individual, Matthews cited the powerful look good/feel good phenomena.
“It helps with your self-esteem,” Matthews started. “It can make a difference in a good day or bad day. It makes you feel renewed and, in a way, energized. It can make you feel like a different person.”
Matthews often works with people transitioning out of homelessness, and says a good, clean cut can really make a difference in a job interview and impact the long-term changes these men and women are trying to make in their lives.
“Once [you see] the difference you can make in another person’s life, your own problems seem smaller and more manageable,” concluded Matthews.