Buy a Shirt, Help Change a Life

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A few weeks ago, I was chatting with some of my blogger friends (Kath, Tina, Emily, Meghann, Theodora, Monica, Gina, Julie, Anne, and Janae), and the group struck upon a great idea.  How about we design a beautiful shirt and donate all the profits to a fabulous organization that supports women?   If you’ve been reading blogs for a while, you know that our ‘community’ has the power to do some incredible things for others. I hope that this fundraiser is just as successful! 


Please consider purchasing one of our shirts as a holiday gift… Not only is the shirt too cute, but the non-profit that will benefit from your purchase is AMAZING.  Read on!



100% of the profits from the shirt sales will be donated directly to LEAP, which stands for Ladies Empowerment and Action Program. LEAP is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization offering an innovative re-entry inside prison and post release support program.


Recidivism is a serious social problem in our country. In the state of Florida, where LEAP works, the recidivism rate is 27.6% – meaning that one in three inmates released will return to a Florida prison in three years.  Part of the issue is that inmates leaving the system are not adequately prepared to handle life “outside,” especially due to a lack of economic opportunities and social support.


LEAP was formed by several women in 2009.  The goal is to provide entrepreneurship, employment, and life skills training to incarcerated women that are scheduled to be released in 12 – 18 months. The entrepreneurship portion, presented by Barry University, is the primary focus
of LEAP’s program. The goal of this portion is to educate the women on how to start a small business, including marketing strategies, business management, and financial coaching. All participants create a polished business plan and resume; they also practice skills like interviewing, public speaking, and anger management.  The program is the only entrepreneurship/employability curriculum preparing female inmates in South Florida.


LEAP recently graduated their sixth class. Since LEAP’s inception, they have graduated over 67 women, 60 of which have been released. Of that 60, 23 are employed, 8 have started their own small business, 10 are employed and attending school, and 5 are attending school but actively looking for work. Only 1 LEAPer has returned to prison (for violating probation).  LEAP has helped local taxpayers save nearly $800,000 annually by reducing recidivism in the Miami-Dade area.

According to the organization:


LEAP serves as a beacon of hope and support for these women who have very little encouragement or help. The endurance of the human spirit is surprising when just one person believes in you. Instilling a spirit of confidence and belief in these women that they can defy the odds and create an independent meaningful life for themselves is the heart of LEAP’s mission.


Here are some quotes from women who have completed the LEAP program:

2013-11-26_0844  2013-11-26_0844_001

Susan: LEAP allowed me to believe that I might have hope. That there is life beyond prison. Upon leaving prison, the LEAP staff took an active part in helping me to find somewhere safe to live. They made sure that I had clothes to wear and hygiene products. They have followed through with me since my release. I am now working as an office manager in a doctor’s office and attending school for medical billing. I am also working towards starting my business, Susan’s Helping Hands. I can never put into words how grateful I am for having been chosen by the LEAP program. They gave me back my self-esteem.


Shunell:  I am a strong believer in progressing from what I have been taught and what I have learned from LEAP. The program taught me how to succeed in life as an ex-offender. I took all that I learned from the program and now I am working on getting my own business started. I am selling “homemade” food plates at church on Sundays and also cleaning homes. LEAP taught me the basic principles of how to start my own business, how to manage my own money and how to put aside money to be used towards my business. I am much stronger in taking control of my life and my future. I am so proud that I was accepted as a participant . The program taught me that I can make it if I try!


Sheila:  I was incarcerated at Broward Correctional Institution in Ft. Lauderdale. In LEAP class, I learned business skills such as budgeting, marketing and how to get business licenses. I also learned life skills such as anger management, self esteem, professional dressing and problem solving. Can you believe that I walked out with a business plan in my hand? This program started the change for me!  In June, 2013, I opened Sheila’s Fresh Catch in Liberty City where I sell conch salad and fritters, fried fish and chicken wings. I would love for all to stop by and taste my delicious food.


We are so excited about this fundraiser because we know that our collective donation will have a tremendous impact on the LEAP organization and the women who run and participate in it.  Just to clarify, the bloggers are not profiting from the sales in any way – everything is going to LEAP.


We believe that this shirt is a *great* gift or stocking stuffer for the holidays.  Give it to your friends, your mom, your little sister… or yourself! 





You can order the shirt right here.  It’s $18 for a woman’s v-neck and $18 for a unisex version.  I already ordered mine and can’t wait to wear it!


Happy Holidays!  Thank you for considering purchasing a shirt.  <3 <3 <3



  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun November 26, 2013, 10:17 am

    Love this and love this company! Thanks for putting this together!

  • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas November 26, 2013, 10:21 am

    Hi Caitlin – where you getting that 27.6% stat? I know you say it seems really high, but it actually sounds incredibly low. The LEAP website says 33%, and South Florida has 41%…which is still less than the state corrections website, which lists it at 52% (not broken down by gender). You don’t have to unmoderate this comment – I’m just really curious on the stats because recidivism rates are determined by a LOT of factors – age, number of prior arrests….so if they’re talking 27% they’re looking a very specific program participant, who is statistically less likely to re-offend before even starting.

    • Caitlin November 26, 2013, 10:34 am

      That rate is for first time offenders in Florida. It’s from an updated brochure that leap gave us. Not sure if their website stats are updated yet.

      I can ask Pat, who runs the organization, to some and answer any questions so please feel free to ask more!

    • Caitlin November 26, 2013, 10:37 am

      I’m thinking that the higher numbers are related to the overall population returning to jail (second or third or fourth time), not the first time returns.

      • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas November 26, 2013, 12:55 pm

        Thanks for answering. I’d be interested to see where the pull the data from since it’s a lower number than is widely available. You’re right that the 50+% is for all reoffenders regardless of the number of times they’ve previously reoffended and includes men (not limited to the first time) but that makes your stat above not quite correct because it says the state recidivism rate is 27.6% and it’s definitely not the case that one in three go back in Florida, sadly it’s more than one in two.

  • Melissa November 26, 2013, 10:46 am

    Wow, such a great shirt and saying, and a wonderful cause to support.

  • Diana November 26, 2013, 10:53 am

    I love this shirt! The message, the colors, everything.

    Also, this organization sounds fantastic. I am really impressed that they are teaching women to not only get jobs but to run their own businesses. As someone who is starting their own business it can be overwhelming and daunting. Having an organization that notonlyencourages but helps withthe process is great. It sends the message that you are more than a criminal, which is a very important message.

  • Laine November 26, 2013, 12:17 pm

    What are the “profits” from the shirt? Is a dollar going to the charity? Or 15 dollars?

    • Caitlin November 26, 2013, 12:28 pm

      The profits are the cost of the shirts minus the fees from Teespring. It’s about $7 donated per shirt. Of course, if you’d rather make the donation directly to LEAP, Leanna, I’m sure they would appreciate that too!

      • Laine November 26, 2013, 12:37 pm

        Cool, thanks! It looks like a great program. I just remember when the Boston Bombing charity stuff was going on, some places only gave a dollar so I am a skeptic sometimes!

  • Kath November 26, 2013, 12:55 pm

    I’m so excited we’re doing this!

  • Clizia November 26, 2013, 1:57 pm

    Do you ship to the UK?

    • Caitlin November 26, 2013, 1:58 pm

      let me see!

  • Laura November 26, 2013, 3:41 pm

    I love this idea and the shirt! Will definitely order one!!

  • Tammy Root November 26, 2013, 4:27 pm

    How did you decide on Melissa Etheridge’s lyrics? I love her. I saw her at a fair before she made it big. I knew she would make it. 🙂

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs November 26, 2013, 5:51 pm

    What a great idea!

  • Ashley M. November 26, 2013, 6:39 pm

    What a great idea — and cute shirt!

  • Alyssa November 26, 2013, 7:23 pm

    Were you inspired by Orange is the New Black? I just watched the series and read the book too!

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More November 26, 2013, 9:22 pm

    What a great idea!! 🙂

  • Jacqui November 26, 2013, 11:04 pm


  • Sammy November 26, 2013, 11:53 pm

    Love everything about this company, and the t shirt. Very inspiring stuff 🙂

  • Kevie S. November 27, 2013, 12:02 am

    What a worthy cause. I’ll donate $20 directly to LEAP, I have no use for the shirt and prefer they receive my entire donation.

    • Rachel November 27, 2013, 10:40 am

      Me too! As someone who works in indigent criminal defense, I know how important an organization like this is. The success stories shared here are truly inspirational.

  • Whitney November 27, 2013, 10:11 am

    How do the shirts fit? Are they slimmer cut or more loose? Thanks 🙂

    • Caitlin November 27, 2013, 11:18 am

      I’m not sure because I haven’t gotten mind yet. I ordered a medium if that helps!

      • Whitney December 2, 2013, 2:23 pm

        Can you let me know when you get it? I have a few smaller friends, but I’m hesitant to order the smalls. They are for Christmas so I have a little time yet. Thanks Caitlin 🙂

        • Caitlin December 2, 2013, 2:26 pm

          I don’t think they run the printing until the sale closes (in two weeks). Let me see if they have sizing info. Please hold 🙂

  • Kelsey @ Ramblings of Change November 27, 2013, 10:23 am

    Thank you for sharing such an amazing and beautiful idea! I will be purchasing one of these for a good friend of mine for Christmas!

  • Ali November 27, 2013, 11:41 am

    Those are really cute and what a great idea!! The blogging community has the power to do a lot of good in the world.

  • April November 27, 2013, 8:45 pm

    Really awesome project!

  • Kathy December 4, 2013, 10:42 pm

    What are the chances an order placed today will be received by Christmas?

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