Three years ago, two unlikely friends, a white Columbus Division of Police officer and a Black barber who'd been in trouble with the law but worked hard to turn his life around, joined forces to give inner-city boys haircuts and school supplies for back to school. Ofc Pete Casuccio and barber Rob Cayson wanted to not only give boys the best chance to succeed in school, but also show by their example that friendship is possible, that different choices are possible, that change is possible.
Last year, thanks to our premier sponsor, AEP Ohio, we were able to add girls into Cops and Barbers 2019 and expand to four sites in Columbus over two days. In all, more than 1,000 kids received school supplies, with boys getting hair cuts and girls doing art projects with female CPD officers.
This year we were afraid that, like so many other events, we would have to cancel Cops and Barbers. But thanks to the friendship of a very determined Pete and Rob, the backing of CPD, who always enthusiastically supports our events, and the help of our sponsor AEP Ohio, who was willing to work with us to get the event done safely, today we had Cops and Barbers 2020.
Things were different this year. Last year, the book bags were packed at the CPD Academy, with the eager help of AEP Ohio volunteers, CPD recruits, and the support of the Academy staff. This year, our president did them herself at her house with a mask on in order to minimize the possibility of Covid-19 exposure.
The snacks that were donated for the kids by FOP Capital City Lodge #9 were individually packaged into brown sandwich bags by Ofc Casuccio's wife, Ashley, so they could take them home if their parents were concerned about them eating them at the center.
You'll see a lot of masks in these photos, but you'll still see the joy that shines through those masks. Today was a very good day, and we'd like to thank CPD, AEP Ohio, Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, the FOP, Walmart Columbus - Morse Rd, CME Federal Credit Union, and our volunteers, for making this possible. In a challenging year, you helped us bring light to these kids, and frankly, to ourselves. Thank you.