Christine Johnson (Magic’s mom), Alison Vaughn, president, Jackets For Jobs, and Lucille O’Neal (Shaq’s mom)
T.J. Maxx unexpectedly presented a $10,000 cash gift to Alison Vaughn, founder and president of Jackets for Jobs, at the organization’s 13th anniversary gala, which was recently held at the Doubletree Suites Hotel in downtown Detroit. “We value tremendously our relationship with Jackets For Jobs and we love the work they do,” said Jerome Smalls, vice president and director of community relations for TJX Corporation. “We just wanted to give Alison and her organization a small token of appreciation for impacting so many lives in a positive way.” Alison Vaughn was shaking with excitement after receiving the check. “I’m literally shaking right now,” said Vaughn. “This is just so wonderful and I want everyone to go shop at TJ Maxx today!”
Lucille O’Neal (Shaq’s mom) was the keynote speaker. A surprise appearance was made by a close friend of O’Neal’s, Christine Johnson, the mother of Magic Johnson. O’Neal spoke of standing over six feet as a 12-year old girl, having low self-esteem, overcoming alcoholism and being poor. “I know firsthand just how important an organization like Jackets For Jobs is to the community,” said O’Neal. “I remember a time when I only had one suit. It was black, but I tell you what…I kept it pressed. And every time I put it on, I felt good about myself.”
“We’re just so pleased with everything. Today was a phenomenal event and we are so appreciative for all the support,” said Vaughn. “Without sponsors like TJ Maxx we wouldn’t be here. Our goal is to keep helping our clients, making a difference for another 13 years.”
Since opening its doors in 2000, Jackets For Jobs, a non-profit organization that helps low income men and women make the transition to work by providing professional business attire and career counseling, has helped more than 14,000 people with employment. A Michigan Works! affiliate, the organization has been featured on ABC’s “The View,” NBC’s “Today Show” and Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine. A highlight of her career was the ringing of the closing bell on the NASDAQ.