By Lynn Jones-Turpin – After celebrating being named a 2021 CNN Champions for Change Honoree and a finalist for the local 2021 EVE Awards, Suited for Success is now celebrating their grand opening of their new clothing studio located in the Town and Country Shopping Center in Arlington. Supporters brought clothing donations to help restock their clothing closet with new or gently used items. “Wow this has been an exciting year for our program, we have been recognized for our achievements and now have a brick and mortar to gift working adults with fresh clothes to look and feel their best for an interview, Sunday service, weddings and more,” said founder and owner Shara Mondy. For more than fifteen years, Suited for Success, a local nonprofit has outfitted women and men, especially those trying to start new lives after prison in business suits so they can confidently pursue employment. The ”free” business attire for men and women seeks to assist those in transition from incarceration, homelessness, and rehabilitation programs seeking employment and supportive services in order to transition back into the community.
Founder, Shara Mondy, who has been running the organization since opening its doors in 2004, is now in its 17th year of providing supportive job readiness and coaching services to clients in Duval and surrounding counties. The journey to receiving the CNN Champion for Change Honor (formerly known as CNN Heroes) extended from former Jacksonville news anchor and now CNN news desk commentator Victor Blackwell. Blackwell frequently donated his apparel to her cause and watched it grow.
Mondy makes note that when prisoners are released from prison and receive one of their suits, the men and women become stronger in their attitudes and faith for rehabilitation and next steps. ‘I’ve seen men and women come in and pick a suit and keep it for a life time. They smile and say this suit helped me in more ways than one,’ said Mondy. For more info visit www.suited4success.com. Shown is Councilwoman Joyce Morgan Danford with Suited For Success Champion Shara Mondy.