Dress to Succeed opens second prison location, at Trumbull Correctional Institution
By Ed Runyan
Youngstown-based Dress to Succeed has now expanded to its second state prison, opening a new showroom last week in a visitors-area space at the Trumbull Correctional Institution.
“We want women and men to come out with dignity,” said Elder Rose Carter, founder and director of the ministry.
That mission – providing people with dress clothes to wear to a job interview or other important occasion – led to the creation of Dress to Succeed in 2010.
But as word of the organization has spread, the organization has embraced the requests of the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown and Community Corrections Association in Youngstown.
Next, they plan to create a program in the Toledo Correctional Institution once she finds an organization in Toledo to run it, Carter said.
Dress to Succeed, which offers free clothing to all people at St. John Episcopal Church on Wick Avenue, has benefitted from the donation of more than 250 suits from the Men’s Warehouse, a $2,500 grant from the Thomas Foundation, plus clothes from consignment shops and other donations, Carter said.
The showroom at the Ohio State Penitentiary has provided clothing for about 10 men per week since last year. About 20 men and women per week receive clothes at the CCA location, and 560 people have been assisted at the St. John’s location, Carter said.
“It’s just like you’re in a department store,” Carter said.
At TCI, volunteer Valeria Johnson is there on Tuesdays to help the prison inmates returning to the community with fit and color coordination.
“We go over and above,” Carter said. Some of the clothing that is donated is new, still with the tags on, even though some comes from the estates of people who have died.
Donations are tax deductible, Johnson said.
Dress to Succeed would also like to expand into a church or other nonprofit facility in the Warren area to provide clothes for all members of the community, like people who have to go to court.
Johnson also would like to find another volunteer to assist with the TCI location. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.