PAYING IT FORWARD: Jervonte Edmonds created Suits for Seniors to help high school students on their road to success.
By DAPHNE TAYLOR
Special to South Florida Times
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Last November was a pivotal month for Jervonte Edmonds, CEO and founder of Suits for Seniors, an enterprising non profit that provides free tailored suits for twelfth-graders to get them started in life.
Edmonds quit his full time job working for State Senator Bobby Powell, and dove in head first with Suits for Seniors, pledging to give his organization all of his attention.
But seven days after taking that big leap, Edmonds found himself to be the news story himself, when his car was stolen from a gas station after a quick coffee stop. Twenty five brand new tailored suits were in the car. He never did recover his car, nor the suits, but has not missed a beat in providing the brand new suits, white shirts, ties and pocket squares for countless Palm Beach County school seniors.
“I turned that situation into a positive lesson for the students,” said Edmonds in a telephone interview this week. “I advised them about being cautious and that when tragedy strikes, to bounce back and turn it into a positive. To date we’ve suited 257 students with free tailored suits and accessories. Ninety percent of our students go to college; Eight percent go to the armed services and two percent start their own business. We’ve poised these students for success,” he said.
Edmonds started Suits for Seniors out of his own need. “I was ending college a couple years ago, and I realized how much of a struggle it was to come up with resources to get a good job coming out of my senior year in college, so therefore, I founded this program,” said Edmonds, who has sponsors that provide the tailored suits for the young men. “This program is designed to develop a culture of young men to be greater than the media images and statistics of young black males,” said Edmonds.
The project is also a developmental achievement program that, in addition to suiting up male seniors with free, the program also offers an eight-week course that teaches leadership skills, preparation, job training financial management, entrepreneurial skills and more.
Edmonds is trying to change the course of young males’ lives one young boy at a time – starting with a tailored suit.
The entire football team at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens just got suited up with their free garments, as did the general body at Palm Beach Lakes and Palm Beach Gardens high schools.
In addition to preparing young men for college, Edmonds said they are also working towards lowering the black male violence rate. “We make sure they are financially literate and go off to college and stay in college,” he said.
Edmonds said he’s grateful for the community’s “We’re only able to thrive thanks to the support of the community.”
For more information about Suits for Seniors, call 321-604-7590 or visit the website at: www.suitsforseniors.org assistance.