Making a Difference: Albertson Teen Starts Charity “Caps Count!”

Back part of a car full of boxes

When Herricks High School senior Tyler Cohen had his hat stolen by a 5-year-old boy while volunteering at an orphanage in Costa Rica, it sprouted an idea. As Tyler tells the story, “My instinct was to run after him and shout ‘stop the thief.’ As I did this, I watched how much this happy child adored my cap. I started to realize how little it meant to me and how vastly different our worlds are. I have so much that I do not value, he has so little and values every small thing.”

So instead of getting angry, Tyler was inspired to start Caps Count!, a charity that collects gently used hats, caps and visors and ships them out to less fortunate kids in the US and around the world. “These hats are not just an article of clothing to the kids”, said Cohen. “They find endless uses for these caps, including the vital purpose of providing shade from the sun.”

In addition to asking family, friends and classmates for caps, Tyler had an idea to put a collection box in front of the Lake Success Modell’s. John Borrelli, an executive at Modell’s, took interest in Tyler’s initiative and helped put Caps Count! on the map by linking him and Modell’s on Facebook, placing donation boxes in five different stores throughout Long Island and Queens, followed by a generous donation of 1,000 caps as proceeds for the charity. Since then, other local stores and organizations have helped out, and there have been hat drives from local boy scout troops and other organizations. Tyler recently scored an interview on CBS New York’sSaturday morning “Live It Up” show that aired December 29 on both CBS and WLIW, channel 55.

The organization has already shipped several thousand hats. Want to help? You can contact the organization at to find out how to donate your slightly worn hats.

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