Full Circle

Giving Back in Style

In 2009, Mary Fodell was a teacher with Grosse Pointe Public Schools and a mother of a child with special needs who knew that young people, especially those with challenges, didn’t have enough job opportunities in the community. So, she decided to do something about it. 

Mary organized a fancy dress and blazer sale at North High School for the upcoming prom and sold new and gently used donated items for heavily discounted prices. This not only enabled every student, regardless of his or her financial situation, to be able to attend the dance, but also allowed students to help run the sale and learn new skills. 

“It was so popular that we were asked to open up the following weekend, and then the next,” says Sue Banner, who at the time was a special education administrator with Grosse Pointe Public Schools. “People continued dropping off clothing and we found ourselves operating a full-blown retail store in a hallway.”

Since the high school had several classes for students with special needs, the teachers would bring the kids down to help hang, sort, and tag the clothes. Eventually, they made enough money to rent a storefront and opened the Full Circle Upscale Resale Shop.

Today, the Full Circle Foundation has expanded to include “microenterprises” – a laundry service, a document shredding program, and a wonderful learning garden. All are maintained and run by students with disabilities and with help from volunteers.  

Full Circle Foundation is located at 17006 Mack Ave Grosse Pointe Park and can be reached at 313.469.6660 or

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