Watch the man who started the non-profit – 100 Suits
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A non-profit named 100 Suits provide free suits, ties, and training to underprivileged men in New York City.
The founder of 100 Suits, Kevin Livingstone started the non-profit in 2011 after he saw underprivileged men and ex-convicts in his area who couldn’t afford a suit for job interviews.
41-year-old Kevin Livingstone says he cares about his community and started the initiative after being tired of seeing young men in his community unable to afford a suit.
Kevin told Barcroft TV: I wanted to do something. I know what it feels like to wear a suit and I know what it looks like – and what it feels like to put on a suit and a tie and to feel relevant.”
“I initially wanted to buy 100 Suits for 100 gang members but then I noticed that the population that we’re servicing, was just much more than anybody that reps the gangs.”
He says when a young man receives a suit, he gets excited and it makes them feel amazing.
“We have a mirror in our boutique, and we make sure they go in front of that mirror and then I ask them ‘what do you see?’”
“Sometimes they will say, ‘I see myself in a suit’, I ask them again and then it drops home that ‘I see a king, I see a provider, I see somebody different who walked inside that room’.”
“They see themselves differently and that is the mission and passion of 100 Suits.”
Kevin has now two boutiques in Jamaica and Harlem that provide free suits and ties to underprivileged men and ex-convicts. 100 Suits also offers clothing to women.
Kevin became homeless while running 100 Suits after he split from his wife. During that period, he stayed inside JFK parking lot in his car for a month.
He thought to start 100 Suits Academy and mentorship programs during the period when he was homeless.
He said: “Our students are learning financial literacy, brand development, entrepreneurism; they’re also learning how to, de-escalate fights through conflict resolution.”
“That was birthed inside of my car in the middle of the night as I was sitting there in the middle of my tears, trying to figure out ways to come about and be more effective in my community.”
“We encourage them to make that first step. When they make that first step, we are walking the rest of the way with them.”