(CBS) — It’s a chance for kids in a struggling corner of Chicago to get a free haircut. But it’s turned into so much more.

It’s called Barbershop at the Library: a program where kids come in for a free cut that also changes the way they feel.

At Englewoods’ Longevity Barber Lounge, the conversation is buzzing about friendships and family, over a haircut or during a game of chess.

“The barbershop is the pillar of the community,” owner Kenneth Clayton Jr. tells CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole.

“My whole overview of the barbershop is like a safe haven and education resource center,” he adds.

That is why his electric clippers echo through the nearby West Englewood library branch once a month, as Clayton gives free haircuts to kids in need .

“You would be surprised how many of them have no one to talk to or go to or even feel love,” he says.