A BRIEF HISTORY
In 2001, television producer Eyvette Jones-Johnson was hired to tell the story of four community activists whose innocent children were murdered in senseless acts of inner-city violence for the Essence Awards (Fox Television). That story changed her life.
With urging from her husband, photographer Craig Johnson, they launched Urban Possibilities, a personal effort to provide business clothing for inner-city job seekers. The word spread, and soon they were donating between 250 to 500 pieces of high-quality business clothing per month through business clothing drives sponsored by groups that included Aon Corp, AIG, Warner Bros, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Fashion Group International, Public Counsel, City Club Los Angeles and through three Los Angeles drop-off centers.
Initially supporting job seekers at a store-front church in South Central, the service spread with a pipeline of donations to groups including: Los Angeles Mission, Union Rescue Mission, Downtown Women’s Center, Chrysalis, LA County Department of Social Services GROW (General Relief Opportunities For Work) program and the California Department of Corrections – Huntington Park Parole Complex.
It Evolved to Empowerment . . .
“We would watch them come in depressed with bowed heads and when they saw themselves in the clothes a light would come on. There would be this infectious energy and joy in the room.” Eyvette notes. “When we packed up to leave the light would go out again. So, the mission became. How do we sustain that light?” In answer to that question, the Urban Possibilities Tool Kit curriculum and the empowerment programs were born.