What's in a hairstyle? For homeless LGBTQ youth navigating complex identities and dangerous social landscapes — a lot. That truth drives ProjectQ, the nonprofit Madin Lopez started in 2012 with little more than a mission and a barber kit.

Providing free haircuts — about 700 each year — to homeless kids is a small-scale approach to a gaping need; an everyday gesture belying the profound impact of community, belonging and self-esteem for some of this city's most vulnerable residents.