KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The Know Joey Foundation is getting young kids in the community ready to go back to school with supplies they need for a successful school year in hopes of sending students in the right direction.

Joey Thomas started his foundation off 39th and Indiana 11 years ago trying to make a change.

“At that time, 39th and Indiana had the highest crime, murder and prison rate. I grew up in that area and I didn’t accept that title that easily,” Thomas said.

He made it out of a rough neighborhood and wanted to show kids they could do the same.

“From the inside looking out, we need to change our narrative,” Thomas said.

Fast forward more than a decade later, he’s kicked it up a notch now offering free haircuts, school supplies, physicals and much more for local families in the 18th and Vine District.

“We can look nice when we go to school,” 8-year-old Donzell said.

Donzell’s mother is thankful for Joey’s generosity too.

“It takes time to do this and I really appreciate Joey Cuts for dedicating their time out for my boys and people that don’t have father figures,” Micaiesha, mother of Donzell said.

About a dozen master barbers donated their time for the back to school function. They know how important it is to look and feel your best.

“It’s a lot of kids out here getting their first haircut and only haircut for the whole year. When they come in and get this haircut and we talk, it’s really a personal experience and I love it,” Richardo Becerra, master barber, said.

That’s a key part of why the event works. Families come in for a helping hand and leave with their spirits lifted.

“It’s a prime example of the community supporting the community and providing for the community. That’s one of the huge reasons why we started this thing and the one of the things we try to keep intact,” Thomas said.

The Islamic Circle of North America Relief Group donated tens of thousands of dollars in school supplies for the event.

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