Suit Up and Show Up - A new suit and outlook on life's possibilities!
This Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event “Suiting Up and Showing Up for the Roles in Your Life”, gives students a window into the possible. Business professionals and entrepreneurs met students in small groups to share their experiences in mentoring and empowerment workshops assisting the young men with goal setting and leadership skills. Student led listening sessions encouraged open discussions to share concerns and ask tough questions. Volunteers included representatives from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bank of America, Coca-Cola Bottling, the Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation and the founders of Envision Construction Services and McCants Architecture. “Personal Shoppers” and fashion professionals from DeWolf Style, Classic Gentleman Boutique and TPF Menswear fit each student pick out a wardrobe provided by Men’s Warehouse, local clothiers and community donations. Each suit was custom fitted to the student who also received a shirt, tie, socks and shoes.
In its 6th year, Suit Up and Show Up was conceived after the tragic death of John Singleton. The 17-year-old high school junior, an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire of a gun battle, was a young hopeful in the CDC of Tampa’s Youth Leadership Movement program before his death in 2011. Ernest Coney Jr, CDC of Tampa’s CEO, bought the young man a suit for his funeral – Singleton’s first. Determined that a young man would not receive his first suit on the occasion of his funeral, Coney established a day of youth empowerment “Suit Up and Show Up”. The goal of the day is to shift the perceptions of the young men – offering a new outlook on their potential as growing young leaders.
Over the past five years, nearly 375 young men in our community have been impacted through this inspiring day of personal development. Through this event, their impact reaches deeper into the community with a service learning component to focus students on giving back. Each participant assists in preparing personal hygiene kits that will be distributed to homeless customers at Grace Point Coffee Shop.
For more information, or to get involved in next year's Suit Up and Show Up, visit https://www.cdcoftampa.org/suit-up-and-show-up