Dress to Succeed Ministry celebrates grand opening

By Bruce Walton



Just a month ago, Rose Carter, president of the Dress to Succeed ministry, marveled at the new space available in St. John Episcopal Church.

But now, at the grand opening of the ministry’s new location, she said she might need more space.

Some 150 people from the Mahoning Valley arrived Thursday morning at the church, 323 Wick Ave., to celebrate the grand opening of the ministry’s new headquarters. Shoulder to shoulder, they surveyed the boutique-style rooms for clothes that didn’t cost a dime.

Carter said at least 300 donated clothes were given away from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

She wasn’t surprised by the turnout, being aware of the community’s need since she first founded the ministry in 2002.

“Its not just going back to work or school, but it’s just having clothes – period, and good clothes,” she said.

The ministry provides free clothes from professional to casual to men and women who are entering the job market, college, vocational or training schools, or simply in need. It receives most of its clothes from local organizations, stores and individuals.

The ministry received a lot of help from several local businesses and institutions to make sure the grand opening was a success. Bob Evans raised money for the event, Raphael’s School of Beauty and Barber Academy offered free haircuts from its students and child learning center Crawling to Destiny kept children safe while parents were shopping.

Austintown resident Nicole Mullins, 38, said she heard about the grand opening through Greater Friendship Church and visited with her 5-year-old daughter, Nikki. Mullins got jeans, a jacket, two dresses and perfume for church, a haircut and school supplies for her daughter. As a single mother, Mullins said the ministry is doing a great service for people who can’t afford to update their appearance as often as they’d like.

“I think its good for the kids; I think its good for the community, and I feel good that people like to help other people out,” she said.

Carter came to the Greater Friendship Church in September 2010 and founded the Dress to Succeed ministry there from May 2011 to July 30, then moved to its new home in August. From now on, the ministry will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

The event was also filmed by Grafton Correctional Institute and will be shown in several penitentiaries in the Northeast Ohio region so returning citizens can also find the ministry. Carter also wanted to thank the Rev. Gayle Catinella of St. John for accepting the organization into its home.