top of page

Starfish Assignment Partners with AEP Ohio to Expand Cops and Barbers Back-To-School Event



Initiative anticipated to help 1,000 kids find confidence, connect with police

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 23, 2019 — Starfish Assignment, a Columbus-based non-profit that helps connect law enforcement officers with the communities they serve, announced today that AEP Ohio has joined as its premier sponsor for a major initiative. The Cops and Barbers event aims to help youth in the inner city start the school year right by providing them with a positive perspective on police and giving them fresh haircuts and new school supplies.

“Cops and Barbers started as a natural extension of Pete Casuccio and Robert Cayson’s relationship,” explained Nicole Banks, president and founder of Starfish Assignment. “Cayson, a former felon and current barber, and Casuccio, a Columbus police officer, bonded over a haircut and shared passion for steering inner city youth down the right path.”

In 2018, Casuccio and Cayson started the Cops and Barbers initiative serving 20 kids. This year, with the added financial support from AEP Ohio, the organization will expand to serve around 1,000, including a new component for young girls.

“When we heard the story of Cops and Barbers, we knew we had to invest both time and financial support, ” said Tracie Campbell, energy efficiency program coordinator for AEP Ohio. “This initiative is making a difference in our communities by enriching the lives of the next generation and we’re proud to be a part of those efforts.”

The two-day event will take place on Sunday, August 18 in Precincts 7 and 8 (East Side and Franklinton) and Monday, August 19 in Precincts 5 and 13 (South Linden and South Side). Boys will receive a fresh haircut, while girls will have the opportunity to create a friendship bracelet with female police officers. All participants will also receive a backpack with new school supplies and energy efficiency items, including a LED light bulb and nightlight, from AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency program.

“The best type of crime prevention is connecting with kids when they are young and giving them that spark of confidence,” said Casuccio, who has patrolled South Linden for six years with the Columbus Division of Police. "A fresh haircut and school supplies might be the motivation they need to stay in school and continue down the right path.”


About Starfish Assignment

Starfish Assignment is a nonprofit organization that works with law enforcement officers to identify people who need a hand up and matches those needs with volunteers who can donate a few minutes or hours of time to make a connection and difference. They ask for everyone to join them as they work to help others while supporting the relationship law enforcement officers have with the community.

# # #

bottom of page